Reflections from Soncia

Soncia Reagins-Lilly, Interim Vice President for Students Affairs and Dean of Students

Soncia Reagins-Lilly, Interim Vice President for Students Affairs and Dean of Students

“Possibly more than any other branch of university administration, the Division of Student Affairs is called on to rapidly and repeatedly modify its programs and activities in reaction to changing school environment.”
Division of Student Affairs Annual Report, 1970-71

These words from the very earliest days of our Division of Student Affairs still ring true today and reflect our dynamic roles and evolving work to support the students on our campus. Our history as a Division has seen seven vice presidents over 48 years, each leading our staff to meet the changing needs of our students.

The Division started in 1968, by bringing the Counseling-Psychological Services Center, Office of the Dean of Students, Registrar, Admissions, Student Financial Aid, Student Health Center and Texas Union together under the leadership of Dr. Bryce Jordan.

Throughout our history, our Division has incubated programs, facilities and services. Many are key parts of our departments while others have grown beyond our portfolio to spread the influence of the Division across campus. The departments making up the Division have shifted to reflect changes on campus and in the needs of our students.

Change is a constant and regular part of our work, just as it has been since the beginning of our Division, according to the 1970-71 annual report: “To successfully meet the needs of students it is necessary to anticipate attitudinal changes in advance of actual demands. . . . Great institutional flexibility and foresight is required.”

Our history gives us context. We must always evolve and adapt. We serve an important purpose on this campus, and it’s up to us to remain relevant.

After this first month in my interim role, I’m ready to share some priorities shaped by our collaboration and conversation.

  • Community within the Division. We will continue the Division-wide staff meetings, holiday party, staff newsletter, etc., as well as develop new initiatives.
  • Safety and inclusion. We want to strengthen our healthy living/learning environments finding new ways to help students feel welcome, valued and heard.
  • Professional development and training. We will continue to develop on our expertise through True Colors® and other programs.
  • Increased university-wide partnerships. We will expand our partnerships on the Forty Acres, furthering our relationships with faculty and across the student experience.
  • Undergraduate and Graduate Student Housing. We will create more university housing for undergraduate and graduate students.

I’m excited about these opportunities and look forward to working with you in the days ahead.

Hook ‘em,

Soncia