Michael Hayes Hired as New Assistant Vice President for Student Life

“AVP for Student Life serves a critical senior leadership role in Campus and Student Life.”

By Olivia Rosenzweig

On February 15, Michael Hayes became the new assistant vice president (AVP) for Student Life at the Center for Student Life (CSL), a position that had been open for more than a year. 

Michele Rasmussen, dean of students at the University, said in an official statement, “[The] AVP for Student Life serves a critical senior leadership role in Campus and Student Life. As AVP, Mike’s portfolio [will include] the Center for Leadership and Involvement, the Office of International Affairs and the University Community Service Center.”

The role was last held by Elly Daughtry who left the University in 2014. According to Rasmussen, the position was not immediately filled because she and Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Karen Warren Coleman wanted to evaluate how the AVP position would look going forward. 

The hiring of Hayes is just one of the changes made to the CSL recently. These changes include the hiring of Karlene Burrell-McRae as director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and associate dean of students in the University, and David Clark as AVP for the Campus Life leadership team, as well as the launch of the Center for Identity and Inclusion in 2015.

According to Rasmussen, Hayes was hired in part for his reputation while working at Washington University in St. Louis. 

“During his time at Washington University in St. Louis, he demonstrated a deep commitment to students and we knew that he would be someone who would want to spend a lot of time with students at UChicago, getting to know their issues and concerns as they navigate the University,” Rasmussen said. 

Hayes was an executive director for campus life at Wash U since 2009. There, he worked with Wash U’s leadership initiative and undergraduate student government. His department also helped advise student organizations, including all the multicultural and LGBTQA groups.

Leslie Heusted is the director of the Danforth University Center and Event Management at Wash U, and worked closely with Hayes during his time there. 

“[He brought] a cohesive approach to student group advising through…establishing relationships and being able to be consistent with policy enforcement, and also being supportive and an advocate for the student groups.”

Jordan Finkelstein, student body president at Wash U, also worked with Hayes. With Hayes’s support, Finkelstein and the rest of student government created a bystander-intervention training program to help curb sexual assault and relationship violence. The project took off in December, and it already has a lot of student participation. “We wouldn’t have been able to do it with such scale without Mike’s support,” Finkelstein said. 

Finkelstein reiterated Hayes’s positive influence on campus. “[Hayes] is very student focused. He’s always available to students and he offers good input. [He is] focused on creating the best student experience possible.” 

“I think that [Hayes’s] presence will be missed for a long time. He impacted this community in a way that is really impossible to measure,” Heusted said. “I think his ability to bring people together and his ability to help people understand the possibilities is a wonderful trait that [the University of Chicago] is lucky to have.”

Before working at Wash U, Hayes served in leadership roles in student life at the University of Maryland and Cornell University. 

Hayes told The Maroon that he is enthusiastic about his new role. “I’m excited to come to UChicago and eager to get to know the students who are such an important part of this great community of scholars,” he said.