About the Office

Mission Statement

The Office of the Dean of Students has as its mission to lead and inspire the Division of Student Life to foster a sense of community in this residential college in which students build lasting relationships based on: the principles of ethical conduct; an understanding of diversity in all of its complexity; respect for self and others; the lived values of social justice and equity; and a commitment to promoting positive change in the world. The Dean of Students office leads the Division in fulfilling the educational mission of the college, particularly in its efforts to create and nurture curricular and co-curricular connections to academic departments and other offices within and beyond the Division. This office commits to guiding and supporting departments in the Division of Student Life that provide services to students and to the institution.

Residential College

We embrace the concept of a residential college as a context in which rich intellectual and social exchange continues in spaces beyond the classroom; and as a setting that nurtures a holistic educational experience that leads students to life-long engagement in learning. We commit to creating such an environment and to affording students opportunities for academic exploration, social, personal growth, and moral development.

Ethical Conduct

An ethical discourse is essential to the creation of excellence within and outside of the classroom, as well as to participation in a flourishing, civil society. Oberlin College’s Judicial Affairs and Honor System assist in educating students about the relationship between their personal freedom and their responsibilities to their communities. These systems, which are collaborative, hold members of the campus community accountable. A system that encourages individual choice and responsibility goes hand in hand with the fostering of intellectual freedom and academic excellence and promotes habits of effective and engaged citizenship.

Understanding Diversity in its Complexity

We are committed to a vision of diversity and multiculturalism that fosters the academic, personal growth of all students. This inclusive approach responds to the concerns of historically underrepresented communities, and at the same time, provides a wide range of educational opportunities for all members of the campus and local communities to explore difference by recognizing identities, histories, interests, and needs in order to build mutual respect and understanding.

Mutual Respect

We believe that vibrant and diverse communities thrive when participants in those communities learn to value one another even when disagreeing. Through our daily interactions with members of the campus community, we will seek opportunities to honor the personal integrity of, as well as accept and respect the unique qualities of those with whom we work, study, and live.

Social Justice and Equity

We commit ourselves to fostering relational settings outside of the classroom in which community members can practice the art of listening before responding. We will model and encourage the willingness to consider the experiences and needs of others in our communities as we search for solutions to everyday concerns that will benefit individuals and preserve the safety and well-being of the campus community and of communities beyond.

Promote Positive Change

We are committed to supporting students as they invest themselves in making positive contributions to the world. We strive to empower students to be self aware and to realize their potential. We promote an environment where healthy lives and balanced minds are valued so that students develop a sense of purpose and meaning during their years at Oberlin. We are also committed to facilitating intentional educational opportunities that foster students’ exploration in civic responsibilities and engagement in the campus community, society, and the world.

Curricular Connections

We are dedicated to creating seamless connections between the curricular and co-curricular experiences of students. These efforts include helping students make sensible and informed decisions about academic and personal matters, negotiate the opportunities and challenges that are an important part of a highly demanding academic environment, and find appropriate resources within and beyond the Division of Student Life. We also work with a range of collaborative partners including academic departments and programs to create opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and community members to integrate the learning that takes place inside and outside of the classroom.

This statement serves as a guiding principle for the Office of the Dean of Students and the Division of Student Life. In order to foster a safe, healthy, vibrant campus community, we are committed, in collaboration with other offices, to providing students with services, advice, direction, and educational opportunities to reach their full potential at Oberlin and beyond.