Kathryn Cavins-Tull, the future Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, came to the university Thursday for the spring Board of Trustees meeting. She was introduced by the current Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Don Mills. In a Q&A with the Skiff Cavins-Tull spoke about her impressions of the university, her style of leading and how she hopes to relate with students.
What influenced your decision to come to TCU?
“”TCU is a great school and a really unique school. I work at a small private university right now at Illinois Wesleyan, and it’s a lot like TCU. The students are really smart and there’s a lot of involvement on campus, and it’s got a really strong reputation for being a high-level school. I love my work at Illinois Wesleyan because I get to work very closely with students. TCU offers a bigger school with more opportunities and more resources, but still [has] opportunities to actually work directly with students. There aren’t very many universities in the country that are like TCU, and it was a perfect opportunity for me to go to a little bit larger school, but still have all the things I love about this work and actually working with students.””
Do you have any plans for Student Affairs coming into TCU?
“”I feel like what I need to do when I get here is get out and listen as much as I can to students, and figure out what really works for TCU and what kinds of things would make life better for students here. I heard some things that I think are really workable, like getting some more resources for the health center and counseling services and also looking at expanding some of the areas in Career Services and some of the things that would make student life even better at TCU. Probably what I’ll do in the first semester or the first year is to really get out and speak to students as much as I can, and listen to them and see where I can best help student life here.””
How will your style be different than that of Don Mills, the previous Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs?
“”I know Dr. Mills from the field of Student Affairs; he’s pretty well-known in our field. I think his style was one that was pretty accessible by students, and he’s a very friendly person with a great sense of humor, so I hope I can be friendly and not take my job too seriously. It’s hard for me to compare his style with mine because I don’t know that much about his style. But I’ll tell you about my style, and that is that I try to be at as many things as I can be. For students, if you have a big program, if there’s something big happening on campus, I try to go and participate or judge and see what student life is about. So you’ll see me a lot, and I think that, like Dr. Mills, if you want to meet with me, you’re going to be able to get in to meet with me. Being accessible to students is kind of the core at what Student Affairs people do, so you’ll find that you’ll have easy access to me.””
What was your first impression of TCU?
It’s a very friendly place. Everybody has been very warm and very kind to me. I’m coming from Illinois, so it’s a little different from Texas. People have been very gracious in extending their help to me, and very sort of “”southern hospitality.”” And the campus is in great shape. I got to meet several students during my interview and then more [Thursday] and the students seem very friendly and very academically focused, but also involved in their campus. I’m really thrilled to be a part of this campus, and I can’t wait to get started. I start in July, and I’m ready to go.””
What are you looking forward to the most?
“”I think that the first year will be a bunch of firsts. The first orientation processes, the first Frog Camp, meeting the new students, getting to know students who have been at TCU and already have love for that. There’s all those exciting firsts for me. Every time you move into a different university, that first year is like a whirlwind of trying to get to know people and to know the traditions, so I’m excited about going through all those firsts when I get here.””