Laura McCollough is new lean, mean, dean machine
Matt Mertes / Sun Star
Mike Sfraga, vice chancellor for University and Student Advancement, has named Laura McCollough as the new dean of students. Her official first day was Feb 11. McCollough intends to use her term as dean of students help the university connect more with the students.
One of the projects McCollough wants to work on is for the office of the dean to become more involved with the Associated Students of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (ASUAF). She wants to be more present at council meetings in an attempt to give the senate opportunities to coordinate with her office.
“I definitely want [ASUAF] to get excited about things and motivated enough to take action,” McCollough said.
Having more presence in the ASUAF meetings will allow senators to have a guide through some of the bureaucracy’s red tape and will motivate senators to be more bold and proactive, according to McCollough.
She has always been passionate about giving the students a stronger voice, she said.
Many students wish to be more involved with the university but can’t because they have challenges holding them back, according to McCollough.
“Everybody is usually doing double or triple duty,” McCollough said. “So you’re working, going to school, you have a family or significant other. It’s not the same as when I was going to school, for the majority of the students we serve here.”
McCollough’s major challenge, according to her, is helping students keep motivated and responding to their voices. She understands UAF has a unique situation when it comes to the students the office of the dean serves.
The average age of students on campus is 33, according to McCollough. Her ability to understand the culture here on campus and to help students to overcome, what some might see as obstacles to their education, is the main reason McCollough believes she was chosen for this position.
McCollough has more than 14 years of experience working with students and Residence Life, at UAF and the University of Tennessee. She studied organizational communication at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. McCollough’s career goal has always been to serve in a dean of students position, and now it looks like she will have that opportunity.