October 14, 2019
The AVP Spotlight series is an initiative of the NASPA AVP Steering Committee and is designed to highlight many of the outstanding contributions to the profession that are made by AVPs across the country.
This edition features Kris Winter, Associate Vice President for Student Life & Dean of Students, for the University of Oregon.
AVP. Please share with us your title, institution, years of service in your current role, and years of service as a student affairs professional.
KW. I serve as the Associate Vice President for Student Life & Dean of Students, University of Oregon. I have been at UO for 3 years, but have been in the field of Student Affairs for 19 years.
AVP. Please share which units are within your portfolio in your current role.
KW. At the University of Oregon, the Dean of Students portfolio includes: Multicultural & Identity-Based Support Programs (Women’s Center, Men’s Center, DACA/Dreamer support, Veterans Center, Non-Traditional Student Services, Multi-cultural Education & Support Services, LGBT Education & Support Services, Black Cultural Center), Parent & Family Programs, Student Conduct & Community Standards, Crisis Response, Substance Abuse Prevention, Sexual Violence Prevention, Title IX Advocate Response, Holden Center for Leadership & Engagement, and Fraternity & Sorority Life.
In addition, I co-chair the university Behavioral Evaluation & Threat Assessment (BETA) team, and am an active member in the university’s Incident Management Team and Demonstration & Protest Team. I also facilitate our Parents Leadership Council - As an AVP, I also coordinate fundraising and donor relations for our division of Student Life.
AVP. What do you enjoy doing most in your current role?
KW. Any day I get to connect with students is a good day – I enjoy working with my Dean of Students Advisory board and gathering their feedback on programs and services that come from our office.
I also really enjoy spending time with my staff – they all work so hard and are amazing professionals.
AVP. How are you involved in NASPA?
KW. Currently, I am serving on the Western Regional Conference committee as co-faculty for the AVP/DOS institute. I am also honored to be a member of the 2019-2021 NASPA Serve Academy.
AVP. What is the best advice you would give to yourself as a new professional knowing what you know now?
KW. You can’t possibly know everything you need to know – so be patient with yourself, be opening to learning from others, build connections within the field and consult when appropriate and when you need the help! And honestly, after almost 20 years, I still heed this advice.
AVP. What is something you are most proud of as an AVP?
KW. I am most proud of the Students in Crisis Fund that was started at the University of Oregon. I worked with our Parents Leadership Council to receive base funding for this project. This allows us to gift students with funds when they experience an unforeseen financial crisis that impacts their ability to continue with their education at the University of Oregon. In an AVP/DOS role, we have all experienced small heartbreak when you are aware of a student that just needs $500 to continue their studies – this fund gives us a way to assist those students. It is a relief to have these funds available.
AVP. Our roles as an AVP can be challenging. What do you do outside of work to ensure that you’re fresh and energized for your campus job?
KW. Time with my partner, family and friends helps to re-energize me.
AVP. What do you do for fun when you’re not working?
KW. I also am a believer in the healing power of road trips and being near water. Thankfully, the Oregon coast is only an hour away when I need a reset. I also love football so during the fall, you will often find me either at a game or watching one on TV.
AVP. How do you balance your personal life with your professional responsibilities?
KW. This is a challenge for me as in addition to my job, I am also trying to finish my dissertation! However, I have had a wonderful mentor in my life who shared a perspective with me a while ago that I always keep in my head: “Like your job, but don’t love it. Save love for the things that can love you back.” This helps guide me and reminds me to keep balance in my life.
AVP. What are you reading now (or have you read recently)?
KW. For work, I am currently reading “Crisis, Compassion, and Resiliency in Student Affairs.”
For my dissertation, I am currently reading articles on recent affirmative action court decisions in college admissions.
And for pleasure, I only listen to audio books. I just finished “Educated: A memoir.”
Do you know someone who should be featured in an AVP Spotlight? If so, please reach out to Kevin McCarthy, AVP for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at North Central College with your nomination by clicking here.
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