Student affairs administrators promoted, Ferguson hired in administrative reshuffling

The Jumbo mascot is pictured outside of Dowling Hall on Aug. 20, 2018. Mengqi Irina Wang / The Tufts Daily Archives

As part of a deliberate reorganization, Student Affairs administrators Kevin Kraft, Lindsay Ferguson and Laura DaRos assumed new positions within that division last month, according to Dean of Student Life and Engagement Chris Rossi.

Rossi stated that planning the reshuffling of administrators in Student Affairs began at the end of the 2019 spring semester, following the departures of former Dean of Student Affairs and Chief Student Affairs Mary Pat McMahon and former Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs Raymond Ou and preceding the announcement on Jan. 24 that Camille Lizarríbar had been hired as the new dean of student affairs and chief student officer.

Kevin Kraft was promoted from director of community standards to associate dean of student affairs for the Medford campus; Lindsay Ferguson was hired as assistant director of community standards and Laura DaRos was promoted to associate dean of student affairs at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), having previously been the assistant dean of student affairs at the SMFA. 

The administrative reshuffling was a result of expanding student needs, according to Rossi.

“[Their departures] created an opportunity for the deans of the schools, Jianmin Qu for engineering, James Glaser for arts and sciences and Nancy Bauer for the SMFA, to look at student affairs and student services more broadly,” Rossi said. “It gave us an opportunity with some flexibility as to how to arrange current personnel.”

Rossi added that he didn’t foresee any resulting changes in addition to the ones that have occurred.

“I think there could be opportunities for us to expand in the future, but I think this is the right sort of administrative structure to serve our current population,” Rossi said.

According to Kraft, he supervises the community standards program in addition to now taking over the student outreach and support program, whereas he previously only operated the community standards program.

Kraft described his previous role of director of community standards, which he now supervises, as a position focused on supporting students and in charge of the system to address student misconduct. 

“We try to make the Tufts community a better place by upholding the standards that we all have that are written in the code of conduct, ” Kraft said. “So, the community standards are basically a set of values or ideas that we all agree to live by.”

The Student Outreach and Support program, a new addition to Kraft’s responsibilities, focuses on the resolution of issues or conflicts that may impair students’ abilities to succeed academically. According to Kraft, this includes a wealth of dilemmas.

“This can run the gamut from medical issues to personal family things to financial problems, you know, anything that people run into; our goal is to nourish and support and help them resolve those issues,” Kraft said. 

The Office of Community Standards, the Student Outreach and Support program and the Dean-on-Call program are resources that often interact alongside each other, according to the Student Affairs website.

The director of community standards position has been vacant since Kraft was promoted, but the process of reviewing applications is currently underway, according to Kraft. He expects that the position should be filled in four to six weeks, due to strong interest from applicants.

Kraft added that the search committee is made up of a student, a faculty member, a staff director from the Office of Residential Life and Learning and Ferguson.

Ferguson began her new position in January as the first to hold that role.  According to Ferguson, the role focuses mainly around students who have alleged violations of the Student Conduct Code.

Ferguson joins Tufts with experience working in similar roles as the newly created one at Tufts

“Before working here I was working at Temple University in Philadelphia as an investigator for the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. I did investigations for Student Conduct, as well as for our Title IX office and involving Title IX cases,” Ferguson said. “And then prior to that I worked in residence life for four years at [University of Massachusetts] Lowell.” 

DaRos emphasized the necessity of her new role in the strategic plan and vision for what it means to be an SMFA student, a vision which has evolved since the SMFA’s integration into Tufts.

“The shift from the assistant to associate director role is a reflection of how the scope of work has changed over the past four years as the school evolves and we’re more balanced in terms of what we need,” DaRos said. 

DaRos also stated that the SMFA’s Office of Student Affairs includes a mix of both student affairs and some student services. According to DaRos, other changes in the past few years for SMFA administration include the added positions of an assistant director of student affairs and a student services coordinator. 

DaRos’ elevated role is necessary to develop plans for the SMFA program and the individual and nuanced curriculums within the program, according to Rossi. He also emphasized the importance of the new role in addressing a wide range of SMFA experiences, including housing and food provision as well as co-curricular programming.