Office of the Dean of Students

Role and Mission

The Office of the Dean of Students has as its mission to lead and inspire the Division of Student Life, which includes programs, services and activities that will empower and enable students to thrive and succeed in a residential academic community.

The Office of the Dean of Students aims to foster a sense of community in this residential college in which students build lasting relationships based on the principles of ethical conduct; an understanding of diversity in all of its complexity; respect for self and others; the lived values of social justice and equity; and a commitment to promoting positive change in the world.

The office leads the Division of Student Life in fulfilling the educational mission of the college, particularly in its efforts to create and nurture curricular and cocurricular connections to academic departments and other offices within and beyond the division. This office commits to guiding and supporting departments in the Division of Student Life that provide services to students and to the institution.

The Division of Student Life oversees and supports: 

  • Club Sports
  • Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Student Accessibility Services
  • Health Promotion
  • International Student Resource Center
  • Multicultural Resource Center
  • Office of Religious and Spiritual Life
  • Residential Education and Dining Services 
  • Office of Campus Safety
  • Student Academic Success Programs
  • Student Health Services
  • Office of Student Leadership and Involvement

Guiding Principles — Office of the Dean of Students

We embrace the concept of a residential college as a context in which rich intellectual and social exchange continues in spaces beyond the classroom; and as a setting that nurtures a holistic educational experience that leads students to lifelong engagement in learning.

We commit to creating such an environment and to affording students opportunities for academic exploration, social and personal growth, and moral development.

An ethical discourse is essential to the creation of excellence within and outside of the classroom, as well as to participation in a flourishing, civil society. Oberlin College’s Judicial Affairs and Honor System assist in educating students about the relationship between their personal freedom and their responsibilities to their communities.

These systems, which are collaborative, hold members of the campus community accountable. A system that encourages individual choice and responsibility goes hand in hand with the fostering of intellectual freedom and academic excellence and promotes habits of effective and engaged citizenship.

We are committed to a vision of diversity and multiculturalism that fosters the academic and personal growth of all students. This inclusive approach responds to the concerns of historically underrepresented communities, and at the same time, provides a wide range of educational opportunities for all members of the campus and local communities to explore difference by recognizing identities, histories, interests, and needs in order to build mutual respect and understanding.

We believe that vibrant and diverse communities thrive when participants in those communities learn to value one another even when disagreeing. Through our daily interactions with members of the campus community, we will seek opportunities to honor the personal integrity of, as well as accept and respect the qualities of those with whom we work, study, and live.

We commit ourselves to fostering relational settings outside of the classroom in which community members can practice the art of listening before responding. We will model and encourage the willingness to consider the experiences and needs of others in our communities as we search for solutions to everyday concerns that will benefit individuals and preserve the safety and well-being of the campus community and of communities beyond.

We are committed to supporting students as they invest themselves in making positive contributions to the world. We strive to empower students to be self aware and to realize their potential. We promote an environment where healthy lives and balanced minds are valued so that students develop a sense of purpose and meaning during their years at Oberlin. We are also committed to facilitating intentional educational opportunities that foster students’ exploration in civic responsibilities and engagement in the campus community, society, and the world.

We are dedicated to creating seamless connections between the curricular and cocurricular experiences of students. These efforts include helping students make sensible and informed decisions about academic and personal matters, negotiate the opportunities and challenges that are an important part of a highly demanding academic environment, and find appropriate resources within and beyond the Division of Student Life.

We also work with a range of collaborative partners including academic departments and programs to create opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and community members to integrate the learning that takes place inside and outside of the classroom.

The Office of the Dean of Students regularly hires students for the position of student assistant. This part-time paid position is available during the academic year. The student(s) hired will assist staff members in fulfilling the office’s overall mission to support students by creating a purposeful learning environment that integrates curricular and cocurricular experiences.

Assignments will might include customer service, filing confidential documents, and delivering and picking up items relevant to the work of the office from throughout campus and downtown Oberlin. Student assistants also might assist staff with surveys, topical research, marketing and promotion of events and services, and website maintenance.

Interested students are invited to apply through Human Resources.