Admin names OMSA dean

By Nicole Burgoyne

The search for a new deputy dean of students of the University and director of the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA) is over. The Office of the President announced last week it had chosen Dr. Ana Vazquez for the position. Vazquez will begin on June 13, 2005.

“Ana’s appointment is the result of a national search that began in autumn quarter 2004,” said Stephen Klass, vice president and dean of students in the University. “I believe we had something on the order of 170 candidates apply, and this complete list was eventually narrowed down to a list of three finalists from which Ana Vazquez was chosen.”

The search committee that selected Vazquez consisted of several professors and administrators, including Ken Warren, Jacqueline Stewart, Ka Yee Lee, Cheryl Bradley-Stone, and Bill Michel, the assistant vice president for student life and associate dean of the College. In addition, the committee had two undergraduate students and one graduate student, and had hired the Hollins Group as the search firm for candidates.

Vazquez submitted her application in December of 2004 and the interview process lasted until last April. She cited the University of Chicago’s reputation as a locally and nationally renowned institution, and the prospect of continuing the University’s efforts in “enhancing the services and resources for students of color,” as the criteria for accepting the job.

Vazquez has been the director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at DePaul University—the largest Catholic university in the nation and the largest Chicagoland university, with more than 23,000 students—since 2000. Noteworthy accomplishments by Vazquez while at DePaul included revamping a mentoring program, that matched 250 first-years to 38 peer mentors, and engaging in aggressive outreach techniques in an effort to bring the university international recognition.

When questioned as to the differences between DePaul and the University of Chicago, Vasquez emphasized the common goal of the two institutions.

“Every college or university is unique,” she said. “There are clear distinctions from DePaul University as a religious, teaching institution and the University of Chicago as an elite, research institution. However, both institutions are committed to ensuring that students of color have positive and successful experiences at their institutions.”

Vazquez also spoke of the difference in size between the two Universities, expressing enthusiasm about dealing with fewer students in her new capacity. “I envision getting to know students by name at the University of Chicago, and not needing to rely so heavily on technology as a means of communication with and serving students,” Vazquez said.

In the interim period before Vazquez begins her position, a staff headed by Bradley-Stone, special assistant to the dean of students in the University, and Linda Choi, assistant director of college administration, have been operating OMSA. The position was created when Klass and Provost Richard Saller overhauled OMSA’s structure during the summer of 2004.