Follow up on changes in Student Affairs

Dear RISD Faculty and Staff,

With the introduction of 15 West, the College added 500 new student beds and became a fully residential campus. Such a campus expands student demand for an active living and learning community, which requires additional student support, especially in the evening and on weekends.  However, the growth in our capacity to house students was never matched by the expansion of services to support them, something that the 2006 NEASC/NASAD accreditation report recognized as one of the areas in need of significant improvement. In order to ensure the best use of our resources, Student Affairs has been evaluating all its operations. As staff has changed we have reorganized the functions of the office. Some new positions have been created; others, eliminated. The net result is that no new funds have been expended. Changes are as follows:

Student Affairs
Sarah Spencer, Assistant Dean of Students (reformulated position). Sarah’s focus at RISD has been supporting students with personal concerns, supporting faculty with student concerns, upholding judicial sanctions and developing the Orientation program at RISD.

Jerri Drummond, Assistant Dean of Campus Life (reformulated position). Jerri will oversee the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Residence Life and Student Life, as of July 1, 2010. The major goal of this position is to provide synergy and programmatic support of the three areas that focus on the students’ experiences outside the classroom.  Jerri holds a doctorate from University of Iowa was formerly Associate Vice President of Student Development and Director of Multicultural Affairs, Manager of Afro-American Cultural Center, and Evaluation and Assessment Research Assistant.

Janet Hoyte, International Student Services Advisor (position transferred from Internation Programs). Janet’s main focus is advising international students on College policy and overseeing the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a government database that tracks and monitors students, throughout their time at RISD.

Student Development and Counseling Services
Wayne Assing (replacement position). Wayne provides direct clinical support as well as administrative oversight for Student Development and Counseling. Wayne replaces Roberta McMahan, the former director who retired in Summer of 2009.

Reporting to the Director, Shauna Summers, is a clinical psychologist who was working three days a week and was made full-time to provide more clinical hours to RISD students.

Student Life
Don Morton, Director (promotion). Don was promoted from Associate Director of Student Life to Director in February 2010.

Residence Life
Elaine Bushey, Assistant Director of Residence Life Operations (reformulated position). Elaine will be part of the evening on-call staff member for residential emergencies. In addition, a graduate assistant position has been created to provide program support for first-year students in the quad.

The following areas have no changes to report:

Career Services

Health Services

Multicultural Affairs


The Office of Student Affairs, the Coordinator of Academic Advising (Chris Bertoni) and the International Student Advisor (Janet Hoyte), have temporarily moved from College Building to the 3rd Floor of Woods Gerry.  This temporary move has taken place so that minor renovations can be made to the former Student Affairs space, prior to the new occupants, Liberal Arts faculty, taking occupancy in early June.  Student Affairs staff will make a permanent move to Carr House when fire code and other renovations are completed over the summer.

The Student Development & Counseling Center offices have moved from the 1st floor of College Building to Thompson House on Angell Street (across from Career Services and next to Nickerson Green). This move will provide additional space in College Building for Liberal Arts faculty offices and will allow us to expand programming and clinical hours for RISD students in Thompson House. 

I hope this information is helpful and will aid you in your daily communications with Student Affairs. All telephone numbers remain the same.  If you would like additional information or clarification please contact me at 401-454-6600 or by email

Raj Bellani
Associate Provost for Student Affairs

This note is a follow-up to the Provost’s memo of May 19th regarding clarification of staffing changes in Student Affairs.

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