Dr. Michara Fields, the new assistant dean of student affairs for equity, diversity and inclusion at SFA, started in the position on Oct. 21.
Her role in student affairs is to create a network of care responses to the diverse student body at SFA.
“This is enacted by ensuring critical services and programs are accessible to all students at all times,” Fields said.
“We want to make sure we are building this inclusive community, that we are making sure that our students are getting the resources that are available to them here on campus and that they are utilizing them.”
Fields explained that part of her job is making sure that academic affairs is informed about the provided programs, so that faculty members can relay that information to students as well.
“The different areas that I have are, of course, counseling services,” Field said.
“I have disability services, veterans’ affairs, multicultural affairs and community standards. So, with those students that may be having those difficulties in judicial areas or may be having difficulties in counseling or disability, we want to make sure that they are a part and that they are getting the resources available to them. That is where that ‘equity’ comes in. We don’t want to make them feel like they are an outcast. We want to make them feel like they are a part of the institution as well and that they are using the resources available to them.”
Fields also said that she will be teaching graduate students in the student affairs program. The responsibilities of Fields’ position align with her many years of experience.
Fields has been a higher education professional for more than 11 years. She held various positions with progressive responsibility at Albany State University in Georgia. Most recently, she served as assistant vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. She also served as interim vice president for student affairs and interim dean of students at Albany State.
Fields became a licensed teacher initially but eventually made the transition to higher education. She described any opportunity to teach as her passion, but her drive to work in higher education is what attracted her to SFA.
“Open I transitioned into higher education, there was no going back,” Fields said. “I really liked the atmosphere. I liked the dialogue. I liked the intellectual conversations with the students, and getting that feeling of being a part of their experience is what really attracted me.”
The position of assistant dean of student affairs for equity, diversity and inclusion replaces the position of assistant dean of students for support services that was previously held by Dr. Michael Walker. Walker recently returned to teaching full time.
Dr. Adam Peck, assistant vice president for university affairs and dean of student affairs, described a long-standing desire to create the position and his excitement for Fields to occupy it.
“For some time, I’ve dreamed of hiring an assistant dean for equity, diversity and inclusion,” Peck tweeted last week. “Yesterday, that dream became a reality. I am pleased to announce Dr. Michara Fields has accepted this position and will begin on Oct. 21st! I can’t wait to see all she’ll accomplish!”