New VP of Student Affairs Looks Forward to Responding to Student’s Needs
Nathan McIvor, Vice President
Dr. Christine Wilson, UMF’s new Vice President for Student Affairs, looks forward to making sure the university is more responsive to its students’ needs, especially in the wake of the recent LEAP building explosion on September 16th which displaced students after their homes were destroyed. Wilson, whose duties include coordinating communications, hopes to develop additional measures to enhance communication between students and the administration.
“I’d like to have dinner with a different group of students every month, and have them ask me what they want to know. They can talk about whatever they would like and ask me questions,” Wilson said. Afterwards, she plans to conduct the necessary research to address students’ needs.
Wilson would also like to establish an online assessment site where students can share their thoughts about particular aspects of the UMF experience. “I want to share the assessment results with students regularly, so that students know that we’ve heard from them,” she said. Students would see results, thus resulting in a hopefully open, ongoing dialogue regarding how well the school is addressing the needs of its students.
An administrator with over thirty years of experience in higher education, she draws from her background in restorative practices, volunteerism and teaching to inform her management style. In her new role she oversees Student Life (which includes Residential Life), athletics, recreation, UMF Campus Police, the Center for Student Development, Student Health, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator, and student leadership and service.
She focuses on her relationships with students, faculty and staff and “[makes] sure that procedures and infrastructure are solid.” The ultimate goal is “to make sure that students have a positive experience, that they’re safe, that their needs are met, so they can succeed academically, graduate and go on to make positive impacts in their careers and in their communities,” Wilson said.
She highlighted an early experiences with volunteerism after college which inspired her to work in higher education. “I spent a year as a VISTA [Americorp volunteer], during which I volunteered to set up adult reading programs. I recruited adults who didn’t know how to read or to speak English and I would recruit and train tutors to help them,” she said.
“It was probably the most important year of my career. . . these adults who didn’t know how to read, had nothing inherently wrong with them, it was just that our systems had failed them. I decided that I was going to go back to school so I could help prepare people who are going to be leaders to be effective and inclusive leaders. And I’ve been working with students ever since.”
An avid outdoorswoman, Dr. Wilson was excited by the natural beauty of Farmington when she drove to campus for her job interview. She enjoys kayaking and hiking, “so this is the perfect place for me,” she said. She also “loves to scrapbook,” and can be found attending scrapbooking retreats throughout the year. Before coming to UMF, she served as Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Connecticut. She lives in Farmington with her partner Patrick and their dogs Bastille and Bergeron.