Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Student Affairs reorganizes for a fresh start this fall

73+Tremont
Leo Woods
73 Tremont

Suffolk University’s Student Affairs Office is taking a fresh look at the upcoming year, with administrators eager to tackle mental health and student-staff connections on campus.

The student affairs office is responsible for services that students use daily, like the Suffolk CARES program, student involvement and more. 

“We work with students on their non-academic student life. On the academic side, we provide support for success,” said Laura Ferrari, vice president of student affairs. “Student activities are also run through us.”

Ferrari, a Suffolk alum, has worked in various roles across the university for 25 years. 

“In 2006 I became the Suffolk Law School Dean of Students, where I stayed up until about a year and a half ago . . . with some transitions, covering for leaves of absences and took over the position full time in January,” Ferrari said. 

Along with Ferrari, there are new positions in the office to help students get the most out of their faculty.

“I came from a law school student affairs background rather than something broader like undergraduate affairs, but I’ve always worked with this team and during the pandemic we worked extremely close, sharing resources between the schools,” Ferrari said.

The struggle the pandemic put on the office opened up the door for even more collaboration between Suffolk’s departments. With resources spanning all three schools, Ferrari hopes undergraduate students can be best served by their resources with the new changes, with some staff members taking on new roles.

Amanda McGrath is the dean of undergraduate student affairs this year. Ann Santos, Dean of Law and Graduate Student Affairs, has been able to assist her respective populations with more care and focus.

By integrating graduate affairs closely with the law school, faculty can have a more focused relationship with students, according to Ferrari.

Interim Dean of Students Cherina Wright is an integral part of the change. Her positions as dean and assistant dean of diversity, equity and inclusion is crucial to the department’s success. Once serving the law school, Wright has extended her expertise to all students at Suffolk in her new role.

The smooth nature of this transition is important to Ferrari, who cited the change as one of her main focuses as vice president.

“I want to make sure we are doing this in service of our students and using all the resources we have for them. This is a transition year to that so we’re working through some of the nuts and bolts of these changes,” Ferrari said.

One of the larger issues the department is focusing on in the upcoming year is providing mental health support to the Suffolk community, to ensure these resources are always available to students. 

“Diversity and inclusion, creating a space of belonging, is also a part of what makes the college experience so special and transformational for students. We’re working to support the events and all we can do to make all students feel included,” Ferrari said.

With this structure, Ferrari thinks the department has gained a new perspective on helping all students no matter their academic placement.

“Graduate students will finally have a dean of student affairs, which they have never had before. We’re going to be able to do so much more for this population,” Ferrari said.

The department is taking time to be more present for the students they serve with these changes.

“I hope that as we go out to events, students will see more of a presence of all the folks that are now on this team, in a way that we may have been siloed a little bit in the past,” said Ferrari.

Ferrari hopes with team spirits high, they can reduce staff  burnout and serve students the best way possible.

“We want to have fun. We want students to enjoy the college experience in ways they haven’t been able to in the past few years,” Ferrari said.

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About the Contributors
Julia Capraro
Julia Capraro, Digital Editor | she/her
Julia is a junior broadcast journalism and psychology major from Canton, Massachusetts. In addition to writing for the Journal, she is President of Suffolk Visual Arts Club. She loves cooking, crochet and reading in her free time.
Leo Woods
Leo Woods, News Editor | he/him

Leo is a senior political science major with a minor in journalism from Clinton, Connecticut. He has photographed political events, protests, performing arts groups and documented Boston Pride for the People for the History Project. Outside of Suffolk, Leo is an avid Dungeons and Dragons player and podcast listener. After graduation, he plans on attending law school and working in politics.

Follow Leo on X @leowoods108

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