Michael J. Tate’s start to summer has been anything but relaxing since new WSU President Elson S. Floyd announced last week that the Division of Student Affairs would join the Office of Equity and Diversity to forge a new administrative area.

Tate, vice president for Equity and Diversity, will assumed leadership of both areas on June 1. Since the announcement, he has been meeting with numerous staff and becoming familiar with the services they provide. “I have been having great fun talking with the leaders in Student Affairs and I’m so excited about what they bring to the table in terms of providing excellent service to our students.  But as with any major reorganization, we have a lot of issues to work through,” said Tate.

Tate recently asked his team to begin using the name Division of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity. His official title is vice president for the Division of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity. The two lead areas within this new division will be referred to as the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Equity and Diversity.

“It is important for people to understand that we are not really merging these two areas into one,” said Tate. “Each unit will maintain its unique identity and focus, but this will encourage us to collaborate more.”

Tate will work out of two offices — his current one located in the Office of Equity and Diversity, French Administration 134, and soon his Student Affairs office in Lighty 360. His current assistant in the Office of Equity and Diversity, Noele Cooper, will maintain sole responsibility for coordinating his calendar. 

Floyd decided to bring these two areas closer together because they both have a major focus on student retention. He asked Tate and his team to “take a look at how WSU can become more efficient while strengthening its outstanding service to students.”  Tate said some examples of increasing efficiency include combining the budget management, fundraising and communications functions from both areas.

Al Jamison, who served as the interim vice president for Student Affairs the past two years, will continue in a leadership role within the new division. His title and specific duties are still being determined. “Perhaps nobody at WSU knows more about student development than Al,” said Tate. “I look forward to working with him on developing new strategies to increase our retention rates.”