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The Dean of Students Office: Not Just About Conduct

The Dean of Students Office (DOS) documented 5,000 student points of contact during 2016-17, but many DePaul students haven’t heard of them.  Often, if a student does know of the Dean of Students Office, they probably don’t understand the full scope of the work that DOS does. It’s much more than conduct cases and discipline: the office also plays a vital role in supporting students during tough times, and helping to retain students and support their success at DePaul. 

In addition to managing and resolving Code of Student Responsibility violations, the Dean of Students Office also works with others at the university to ensure the safety of students and the community. The Student Care Team, which consists of staff from the Dean of Students Office, University Counseling Services, the Center for Students with Disabilities, Public Safety, Residential Education and Health Promotion and Wellness, meet weekly to review student cases and discuss how best to handle them for both the student’s and the community’s well-being. In the same vein, they bring together and train staff on Protest Safety Teams, which jump into action and attend controversial events on campus in order to support students and speakers, and to ensure the safety of attendees and the surrounding community.

Another key function of the office is to advocate for and support students when they face tough personal, financial or health issues, which can affect their academic success. This kind of student advocacy takes many different forms. Two that the office frequently engages in are processing absence notifications and reviewing administrative withdrawal cases. Absence notifications entail contacting professors on behalf of the student to notify them of a past or pending absence, and administrative withdrawals allow students to retroactively withdraw from a class past the deadline. Sometimes staff in the Dean of Students office simply direct the student to appropriate internal or external resources.

The Dean of Students Office can also assists students financially. The Student Emergency Assistance Fund (SEAF) program, a collaboration with the Division of Student Affairs and the Scholarships office, assists students when they are experiencing a financial crisis that impedes their academic progress. 

“The Student Emergency Assistance Fund grants provide breathing room for students in a financially distressing situation to be able to make a plan for moving forward,” says Shenay Bridges, assistant dean of students. “It doesn’t permanently resolve all issues, but a grant can provide enough relief so that the student is able to advocate for themselves and feel empowered to continue.” 

In emergencies, the Dean of Students Office can provide financial assistance up to a maximum amount. Funds are often requested for assistance with housing, books and transportation. 

Far from being only about conduct and discipline, the Dean of Students Office serves students who may face unforeseen circumstances that prevent them from meeting their  full academic potential. The Dean of Students Office staff consists of:
  • Ashley Knight, EdD, Dean of Students and Deputy Title IX Coordinator
  • Ellen Herion Fingado, MEd, Associate Dean of Students
  • Bernard Little, MS, Assistant Dean of Students
  • ​Emily Kraus, MEd, Administrative Assistant
The Dean of Students has locations in Lincoln Park and the Loop. Students should call the Lincoln Park office at 773.325.7290 to make an appointment if they feel that a personal or medical issue is impacting their ability to succeed in class, and staff in the office will do what they can to assist. Students can also visit the Lincoln Park office in the Lincoln Park Student Center suite 307 or the Loop office in Lewis Center 1400 to schedule an appointment.