Today@Sam Article

Division Of Student Affairs Announces Student Advocacy Office

Oct. 18, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton

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The Division of Students Affairs has restructured the Dean of Students Office in order to bring student advocacy, expressive activity, and student conduct into one cohesive unit, the Student Advocacy Office. Effective Oct. 16, 2021, John Yarabeck has been appointed as the Assistant Vice President and Dean for Student Advocacy; Chelsea Smith is taking the position of Dean of Students; and Gene Roberts has been promoted to Associate Dean and Director of Student Legal & Mediation Services.

“These three individuals have made outstanding contributions to the university through their understanding, knowledge and desire to provide the best services possible for the student community,” Parker said. “I know that going forward this area will be a critical component in helping our students navigate their road to success,” stated Frank Parker, vice president for Student Affairs.

Parker explained the team will work to create a one-stop-shop approach to meeting students’ advocacy needs and providing knowledge and information in real time when they are in need of assistance.

“We want students to know that here they can find support, assistance and direction when they have questions or problems that are not easily solved,” Parker said. “This will benefit students by helping them understand where they can find immediate assistance in one particular administrative area. This includes expressive activity, grievances, legal assistance, and general support.”

Dean Yarbeck headshotYarabeck, who previously served as dean of students since 2006, is excited about the opportunity to continue to serve students in his new role as assistant vice president and dean for student advocacy.

“I think this is an unprecedented opportunity for us to advocate collectively for the needs of our students,” Yarabeck said. “It will be an honor and a privilege to assume this new role and continue to serve our students.”

Chelsea Smith headshotSmith, who joined SHSU in 2011 and was named senior associate dean of students in 2019, says as dean of students, she wants to continue to provide guidance and support for Bearkats through their college journey.

“Listening to our students and valuing their concerns and their ideas allows us the opportunity to provide support services and programs that will engage and retain our students through graduation,” Smith said. “We care deeply about our students and we want to help them succeed and become lifelong Bearkats. This new role allows me the opportunity to meet students where they are and hopefully continue to have a positive impact on their success.”

Gene Roberts headshotRoberts, who was named director of Student Legal and Mediation Services in 2013, sees the new position of associate dean and director of Student Legal & Mediation Services as a way to continue to provide a crucial student service to Bearkats.

“From my first day at Sam Houston State University, our office focused on providing high-quality and trusted advice to students combined with exceptional service,” Roberts said. “Through the dedicated work of many people in our office—including our student assistants—we help point students in the right direction so they can be academically successful. I look forward to representing the division in new ways. We want students to feel empowered after they leave our office and equipped with essential skills that will benefit them now, in the workplace and in other spaces in their lives.”

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