Dean of students accepts job in Oregon

Bobby Shipman

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Batista

Batista

Dean of Students Angela Batista has accepted a position as associate vice-provost and dean of students at Oregon State University.

Batista was nominated for the position in the fall and wasn’t looking for a job, she said.

“In some ways, it’s very similar to the kind of pull that I felt from the USI position. It’s a school that’s really focused on access,” she said.

A lot of students at OSU are first generation college students, which she said was also a pull for her, as well as the university’s focus on social justice and diversity.

“Being at USI has really been a wonderful experience, and I’m not ready to go yet, so I’m still here,” Batista said. “It really has helped me learn a lot about myself professionally and personally and how I want to live out my purpose. I do this work because I feel like I have a purpose to influence students’ lives and help them find their way.”

Prior to working at USI, Batista worked at Mills College in Oakland, California and is excited to be closer to the ocean, but most importantly, she said, she wants to do for students what people did for her.

“I think in this role, like at USI, I will be able to continue to create that kind of influence,” she said.

She said she will serve as the “number two” administrator in student affairs, as well as serve as the dean of students.

“I’m really proud of the work that I’ve done with colleauges (at USI) around the care team and really creating a place where students can go where they need help no matter what they need help for,” Batista said.

She said she will continue to do what she’s been doing through this academic year, but will have to find time to move across the country at some point.

“This is my third year here and we’ve worked very intentionally to create lots of initiatives and resources for students, and I know there’s lots of commitment from the president and from Provost (Ron) Rochon to make sure that we continue those,” she said. “So I’m going to help in whatever way I can.”

She said she urges students to continue to take advantage of DOSO’s services during the transition and said there will always be someone to help them with their needs.

“I want students to know that the work this office does is not just about me,” Batista said. “There’s a whole large group of people across the university that collaborate with us to create the kind of services that we provide. And that will continue to happen.”

Assistant Dean of Students Tara Frank said she will miss Batista’s dedication to students and her ability to create a student-friendly environment within DOSO.

Frank started at DOSO about a year after Batista was hired having had no experience as an assistant dean.

“(Batista) sort of took me under her wing and taught me what it was that I really needed to know to be successful in my position,” Frank said.

Frank said she had little knowledge of working with with distressed students when she began at USI, but with Batista’s help she has become more comfortable helping them out.

“Part of that comfort comes from  having a boss that’s supportive,” she said.

Batista’s penchant for laughter will not be forgotten by Frank, she said.

“Despite the fact that our jobs are pretty stressful, she does laugh a lot and it’s refreshing,” Frank said.

But Frank said OSU will be perfect for Batista.

“I think she’ll be fantastic,” Frank said. “I think it’s a great fit, and it’ll be a challenge and she enjoys challenges.”

OSU conducted a national search for the new postition and Batista was one of four candidates brought the the campus as finalists.

Vice Provost of Student Affairs at OSU Susie Brubaker-Cole said the university felt Batista had the greatest combination of experience, enthusiasm, drive and creativity  to take their campus “to the next level.”

“We had a sense that she was one of the greatest champions for students and the student experience we could possibly bring to our campus,” Brubaker-Cole said. “We thought that she understood, very deeply, what students’ needs are and how to work with a very broad, diverse array of student needs on campus, and we are thrilled to be bringing her here.”

In her new position, Batista will oversee OSU’s student care functions, orientation program, disability access services, Greek Life, Human Services Resource Center, Child Care Center and student care/critical response efforts.

Brubaker-Cole said Batista’s deep understanding of how different student populations experience a university made her attractive to OSU.

“We feel so lucky to have her and we are sorry, (USI), that you don’t get her anymore,” she said jokingly.

Batista said she originally chose USI because it is a bigger place that feels like a smaller place.

“For students,” she said. “I think really being a part of that community where people really care about them and really want to form relationships with them has been something that I have really enjoyed.”

The university will begin a national search immediately, according to an announcement from the Provost’s Office.

James Vaughn contributed to this story.

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