Virginia Tech to host vice president for student affairs candidate forums

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The Virginia Tech community is invited to meet the candidates for the vice president for student affairs position. (Pictured left to right: Frank Shushok, Ph.D., Kent Porterfield, Ph.D., Jason Pina, Ph.D., Dione Dorsey Somerville, Ph.D. Photo: Courtesy Virginia Tech)

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Virginia Tech’s campus community is invited to hear presentations from the four candidates for vice president for student affairs in a series of open forums.

Each candidate will speak on “The Role of Student Affairs in Educating Students in a Global Land-Grant University,” according to a statement from the school. Presentations will be broadcast live online for those who are unable to attend. Recordings of the presentations, biographical information on each candidate, and survey links will be available on the provost’s website, VT said.

All forums will be held at the Holtzman Alumni Center, Assembly Hall, located at Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus. Each presentation will follow with a reception scheduled for one hour.

Below you’ll find biographical information on each candidate and the dates and times they will present, according to a university statement.

Frank Shushok, Ph.D., Monday, Feb. 24, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

“Frank Shushok is passionate about students and their learning and thinks working on a college campus is among his great privileges. By the time Shushok was a sophomore in college, he had aspirations of working in student affairs — a career path he’s been on for more than 25 years. Part of Shushok’s passion for students is born out of his own struggle to get through high school but subsequently finding his stride and potential while in college.

Shushok came to Virginia Tech in 2009 from Baylor University, where he served as dean of student learning and engagement. Before his appointment as interim vice president at Virginia Tech, Shushok served for a decade as senior associate vice president for student affairs and provided leadership for the Cranwell International Center, the Dean of Students Office, Dining Services, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Housing and Residence Life, Learning Partnerships, and Student Conduct.”

Kent Porterfield, Ph.D., Thursday, Feb. 27, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

“Kent Porterfield believes deeply in the transformative power of education, and his career in higher education now spans three decades, including more than 22 years as a senior student affairs officer at Northwest Missouri State University and Saint Louis University. Porterfield received his doctoral degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Northwest Missouri State University.

In his senior student affair roles, Porterfield has provided leadership and direction for a wide portfolio of programs and services outside the classroom that enhance student learning and success, including academic support services, athletics, auxiliary services, campus recreation, career services, cross-cultural center, community service and engagement, conference/event services, counseling, dean of students, disability services, health services, housing and residence life, intercultural and international services, student activities/involvement, student center, student conduct, and wellness.

In 2014-15, Porterfield served as president of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). He also previously served two terms as president of the Missouri College Personnel Association and was program co-chair for the 2011 ACPA Convention in Baltimore, Maryland. His leadership and service has been recognized on numerous occasions, including the Annuit Coeptis Senior Professional, Diamond Honoree and Outstanding State Division President Awards from ACPA; the Commitment to Quality and Tower Service awards from Northwest Missouri State University; and the President’s and Richard Caple awards for Outstanding Service and Contributions to Student Affairs from the Missouri College Personnel Association.

Porterfield and his wife, Nicole, live in St. Louis, Missouri. They have two daughters, Claire and Grace, who are both undergraduate students at Texas Christian University (TCU).”

Jason Pina, Ph. D., Monday, March 2, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

“Jason Pina serves as the vice president of student affairs at Ohio University. Ohio University is a public research university with a combined enrollment of more than 38,000 students. Pina provides leadership for more than 450 professional staff, 3,700 student employees, and approximately 60 graduate assistants. He previously served as the vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at Bridgewater State University. Prior to these roles, Pina served as the associate vice president and dean of students at the University of Rhode Island. During his career, he has held the roles of chief diversity officer, dean of enrollment management, and numerous other positions that focused on student success.

For more than 25 years, Pina has collaborated with faculty, professional, and student colleagues to improve campus environments, student achievement, and student affairs programs. He is a leading voice on leadership in student affairs and diversity. His work with colleagues at Ohio University has been recognized by Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Insight into Diversity, EverFi, OCPA and NASPA. He recently co-edited “AVP: Leading from the Unique Role of Associate/Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs” and contributed several chapters. He assisted in the revision of the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies and Rubrics. Pina joined the NASPA Board of Directors in 2017 and is the 2019 & 2020 NASPA Annual Conference Chair.

Pina received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Occidental College, has a master’s degree and education specialist degree from the University of Northern Colorado, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Johnson & Wales University.”

Dione Dorsey Somerville, Ph.D., Thursday, March 5, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

“Dione Dorsey Somerville is a senior leader in higher education whose accomplishments span strategic planning, student success, organizational change, managing complex budgets, enrollment management, assessment, campus planning and construction, program development, Title IX compliance, community relations, fundraising, and aligning academic affairs and student affairs. Somerville currently serves in a consultant role as interim vice president for student affairs at Hawkeye Community College, which has begun to create a Division of Student Affairs and create enrollment strategies. Prior to consulting, she began as vice president for student affairs at Bloomsburg University in July 2011.

Among her accomplishments, Somerville provided leadership for Bloomsburg’s regional accreditation and other major initiatives, such as providing leadership to create the university’s first Division of Strategic Enrollment Management and envisioning the student wellness initiative, with particular focus on mental health and dependency on alcohol and other drugs. Somerville provided leadership to create the Center for Leadership and Engagement, create the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, modernize Greek Life, expand intercollegiate sports, facilitate assessment, and complete fundraising efforts. Somerville provided leadership during the University Master Plan process, the plan for the revitalization of university housing, and the completion of Soltz Hall, a $61.4 million multifunction building inclusive of the university mailroom, bookstore, integrative learning, two dining venues, and nearly 400 suite-style beds.

Somerville was dean of students at Iowa State University and chaired the Critical Incident Response Team there, prior to Bloomsburg. Accomplishments included a proactive intervention function for students of concern, revision of student sexual misconduct policy, and a $52.8 million recreational facility renovation and expansion. Somerville earned a bachelor’s degree in English/writing from Ohio Northern University, a master’s degree in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University, and a doctoral degree in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.”


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