Antioch University Seattle Names Its First Student Dean

Antioch University Seattle has named Pat Russell, a psychology doctoral student, its first student dean.

A graduate of Antioch’s B.A. in Liberal Studies completion program, Russell has a long history of service to the Seattle community and to Antioch.

In announcing her appointment, Antioch Seattle’s Academic Dean Ormond Smythe noted, “She is well known around campus as a devoted Antiochian, an imaginative leader, a consummate diplomat and an energetic student advocate with a particular interest in students of color.”

A dean’s position filled by a student is uncommon in higher education. Russell will serve on the academic dean’s leadership team and will meet regularly with the university president’s team.

“No other institution I know of has a position quite like the one Pat will occupy,” Smythe said. “Antioch Seattle has undertaken this initiative in an effort to increase dramatically the involvement of students in all aspects of campus life, and to assure the greatest possible responsiveness to student needs and concerns among campus administrators, staff and faculty.”

Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet, Antioch Seattle’s new president, said a key goal under her leadership is to create greater access for students who may never have believed they could be part of Antioch.

“The student dean post is a progressive step in that direction,” Manuelito-Kerkvliet noted. “An ongoing commitment to inclusiveness and welcoming people of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints continues to be among the core values at Antioch Seattle.”

Russell assumes the half-time position Dec. 10 for a two-year term while she completes her doctorate. Providing student advocacy and serving as general liaison between students and the campus administration are roles that appeal to her, she said.

“I hope to be more than just a presence,” said Russell. “I want to be a real voice for students. I also would like to increase diversity among the students: We must do better than merely reflect the diversity in the Seattle/Tacoma area. We should be leaders. In addition to recruitment, I would like to identify what can be done to support students of color once they get here. Diversity enriches all of us.

“Other goals include identifying and supporting current student endeavors, to connect with communities outside of Antioch more, and to increase the connection between students from all of Antioch Seattle’s programs.”

About Antioch
At Antioch University Seattle, adult learners find innovative, individualized programs with a commitment not only to academic excellence, but also to community service and social justice. Antioch is an accredited university in downtown Seattle. You’ll find numerous master’s degrees, a B.A. completion program in liberal studies, a doctorate in clinical psychology plus teaching and other certificates.

Antioch was founded in 1852 in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Horace Mann, noted abolitionist and first president of Antioch College, gave a charge to the class of 1859 that is repeated to each Antioch graduating class: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”

Antioch University

Since our founding 1852, Antioch University has remained on the forefront of social justice, inclusion, and equality – regardless of ethnicity, gender, creed, orientation, focus of study, or ability.

Antiochians actively reflect these shared values to inspire positive change in the world. Common Thread is where we document the stories that showcase our communities actions, so the change we work for can be shared widely.  

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