On the morning of Feb. 19, 2008, a much harried looking Dean of Students ushered me into his office, a little late for our interview. Setting down his cup of coffee, he briefly organized the large stack of papers cluttering his desk while consulting the printed schedule that lay in front of him. With an encouraging smile, the Dean of Students (who happens to be a twin and a Billy Joel fan) finally sat down and waited for my questions.
John Stein was named Dean of Students back in October 2006. He has worked with college students for 27 years and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Counseling and Educational Psychology. Before becoming Dean of Students at Tech, he was Dean of Students at Manhattanville College and at Sarah Lawrence College. As Dean of Students, his job entails remaining available to students at all times.
“My job is to advocate and support students,” said Dean Stein. “It is a position that was established 85 years ago, with that being the premise of the role. Part of the job is to hold on to that tradition and not lose sight of it in spite of other obligations. Once you become disconnected from your students, you lose the essence of the job.”
A typical day in the life of Dean Stein begins around 7:30 a.m. For an hour, the Dean orients his day, follows up on emails, takes care of any emergencies that came up overnight and connects with the dean on call.
“This morning I came in and read a few emails from students who had to leave campus for different reasons,” Stein said.
After taking care of overnight issues and any problems that arise in the morning, Dean Stein then meets with several different types of people. The Dean’s office works with various departments including GT Smart, Greek Affairs, Student Involvement and the Women’s Resource Center. Everyday, Stein meets with the directors of these departments individually.
Holding up to the tradition of being a friend of the student, Stein also meets with students throughout the day. He works with students on issues of absence, since notifications of absence go through the Dean’s office. The Dean’s office also assists students in resolving their problems by providing information and referrals about campus resources. The office tries to promote initiatives that address students’ needs and interests.
The Dean of Students also interacts with parents on a daily basis. “Parents are a big part of my day. I make myself available to answer any questions they might have concerning how things work at Tech. For example, anytime you have a crisis such as the Northern Illinois University shooting, parents will call to ask about the safety of our campus and how we would have responded to the situation,” Stein said.
Every Tuesday, Dean Stein advises the Student Government Association’s (SGA) weekly meetings. As their advisor, he meets weekly with Undergraduate Student Body President Anu Parvatiyar to discuss the concerns of the students.
“My day also consists of interacting with different departments: Financial Aid, the Counseling Center, Housing, and the President’s office…my goal is to try and make myself available to the many,” Stein said.
“I represent the Dean’s office on a number of different committees, and I teach a freshman seminar class. It is a good way to stay connected with students, and I really enjoy it. I’ve been teaching a class for the six years I have been at Tech,” Stein said.
Dean Stein truly portrays the image of a friend of the student and upholds the tradition of support and advocacy. To learn more about the dean’s office, or to make an appointment with Dean Stein, visit www.deanofstudents.gatech.edu.