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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


New dean of students takes reins

Colin Prenger
Colin Prenger / Arizona Daily Wildcat Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Keith Humphrey discusses his past and present roles on campus. Dean Humphrey is the new Dean of Students, who oversees numerous student activites such as LGBTQ.

Keith Humphrey is the new dean of students and assistant vice president of Student Affairs for the UA. He is also an adjunct assistant professor of practice in the Center for the Study of Higher Education and the coordinator of the master’s program in Student Affairs. He has been a UA employee for 14 years. Humphrey replaces Carol Thompson, who filled the position beginning in 2006.

Daily Wildcat: What were your previous roles at the UA, and how do you think those roles will help you as the new Dean of Students?

Keith Humphrey: My first job was as a hall director in Arizona-Sonora Residence Hall in the late 1990s. I was an orientation director, a director of admissions and I’ve also worked in the Dean of Students Office before. I spent the last couple of years leading retention programs, orientation, Career Services, leadership services and the Transfer Student Center. All of those experiences have allowed me to see lots of different aspects of student life at the UA, from why students come here to what they want to do to become successful. I see my role as listening to students and helping support them to become alumni.

Out of all of those roles, which was your favorite and why?

I really like what I was doing most recently. As assistant vice president, I oversaw a lot of programs. I was able to look across a number of different areas and see synergies that didn’t previously exist and bring them together. For example, Career Services and leadership programs didn’t interact closely. Companies are not only looking for smart, intelligent people but future leaders. I worked to bring those departments together, and together they can make good things happen.

What organizational changes will there be in the Dean of Students Office now that you are stepping in?

It is still premature to say, but I’m going to do everything I can to listen. I have started a Facebook page called “Dean Humphrey,” and I want students to friend me so I can better communicate with them. Every Monday from 4 to 5 p.m. I will have open office hours for any student to come talk about anything on his or her mind. I am excited to help students and learn what they want to see the UA do differently. It is really important to me to look and listen first, as well as listen to the great staff here and listen to what they would like to see as well. The best part of my job is to hear and meet with students, and to make myself accessible.

How do you plan to connect and advocate for student leaders, organizations and students in general?

One of the first things I got to do was have lunch with the Associated Students of the University of Arizona president, cabinet and student senators. I listened to them about their priorities. Once I get more settled into my new role, I’ll try to be out and visible at different events. I welcome invitations to things so I can go where students want me to see what’s important. I’ll constantly be looking for ways to listen and participate.

What are you looking forward to the most in your new role?

I always look forward most to graduation because it is the culmination of a fantastic UA experience. My hope in this position is that the number of students graduating continues to grow and become successful, proud alumni.

If you could give one piece of advice to UA students, what would it be?

Students should make sure that they get engaged within the UA community. They should join a club or do something outside of the classroom that interests them, and makes them feel like they are a part of the UA community. When students do that, they are happier and more successful in the classroom. To us, that’s really important.

Is there anything else that you want students to know about you?

I am a father of three, ages 3, 5 and 17. The oldest is my partner’s son, and the two younger are our adopted sons that came as a result of our roles as foster parents. I’m a huge fan of Wildcat athletics — my two little ones think I work at Wilbur’s house — and I’m probably the biggest Madonna fan there ever was.

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