News, University News

University hires new assistant VP for campus life

Nicole Truesdell to oversee student centers, improve support for underrepresented students

By
Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Last month, Nicole Truesdell began her tenure as the new assistant vice president for campus life. In this role, Truesdell will provide “leadership and strategic planning for the division of campus life” in addition to implementing initiatives that ensure “the division and (the) University are attune to and responsive to the diversity of Brown’s student population,” Eric Estes, vice president for campus life, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

As assistant vice president, Truesdell will oversee the seven student centers on campus, including the Brown Center for Students of Color, the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center, the First-Generation College and Low-Income Student Center, the LGBTQ Center and the Stephen Robert ’62 Student Center. Truesdell said she wants the “different centers that operate under (her) profile” to approach their work “as a cohesive unit … (and) about how we name ourselves as a group.”

Truesdell also said she hopes to reconfigure the University’s interactions with students from minority backgrounds by not only catering to their needs but also understanding the strengths that they bring to campus. “Students from diverse backgrounds shouldn’t be seen as a deficit, but as an asset to the University,” she added.

Led by a committee consisting of students, faculty and staff, the University began its search for the new assistant vice president for campus life last semester, Estes wrote. Truesdell “emerged as the strongest candidate in a national search that produced a very talented and experienced applicant pool,” he added.

AJ Clifforde Alcover ’20, a member of the search committee, said the committee looked for candidates who could oversee and coordinate multiple programs and organizations. The committee felt Truesdell’s goals “really stood out and were the most innovative and complementary to what Brown needed,” he added.

“Her energy was very pleasant. … Students would like to get to know (Truesdell),” Alcover said.

Prior to Brown, Truesdell worked at Beloit College, a liberal arts school in Wisconsin, where she founded the college’s Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusiveness in 2015. The office aids underserved and underrepresented students by “reforming institutional structures and practices (at Beloit College) to position underrepresented bodies and their assets (lived experiences, skills and mindsets) at the center,” wrote Atiera Coleman, interim director of the office, in an e-mail to The Herald.

During Truesdell’s tenure as the office’s director, she “helped many of us reimagine equity and inclusion while challenging us to dismantle the structural barriers that work against the success of marginalized students,” Coleman wrote.

Over the course of the next month, Truesdell said she will conduct intensive research and hold meetings with undergraduate and graduate students, as well as key administrative and academic actors on campus. “Campus Life thinks holistically about the curricular and co-curricular pieces that make up the whole Brown student experience,” she added.

“I’m excited to do the work and figure out how to merge the academic aspect with the campus life aspect at Brown,” Truesdell said.