What do you DO all day?

Jeff Christoff

Do you know Nancy Truesdell, dean of students? If you’ve set foot on the Lawrence campus, chances are that you’ve met her at least once or twice.Depending on your involvement on campus, you may have met Truesdell in any number of areas. Her list of job responsibilities is long, and includes spending time with individual students or student groups, supervising campus student life offices (residence life, campus activities, multicultural affairs, etc.), and serving as an advocate for students, a faculty representative to LUCC, an advisor to Judicial Board, and coordinator of Welcome Week and Fall Festival.

Her schedule is often packed with back-to-back meetings and appointments, and there are often evening and weekend commitments that keep her occupied outside normal office hours. In order to accomplish everything that her job requires, she sometimes puts in a few extra hours early in the morning or late at night.

One image of herself that Truesdell is quick to dispel is that of disciplinarian. “A very small proportion of my time is spent with disciplinary matters, but too often students think of me as someone they hope to avoid for fear of being viewed as ‘in trouble,'” she said. “I have lots of wonderful interactions with students, and in fact, even the disciplinary contacts I have with students usually turn out to be positive in the long run.”

Outside the office, she enjoys attending campus events. “I like to see students involved in the concerts, plays, athletic events, activities, and lectures,” she said. “That is what I really like about my job.”

On top of all of Truesdell’s campus commitments, she still manages to maintain a full life outside of Lawrence and spends lots of time with her husband, 15-year-old son, friends, and her golden retriever.

Truesdell graduated from Ripon College, with a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary teaching certification. Over the following years, she taught high school English, worked as a hall director at Ripon, and attended Bowling Green State University for her master’s degree in college student personnel. Upon earning her master’s degree, she worked in career development, residence life, judicial affairs, and other higher education positions, at institutions like Cornell University and Sweet Briar College.

After coming to Lawrence to serve as director of the Career Center, she became dean of students, a position she has occupied for the past eight years.

With her background, Truesdell has a lot of advice for college students; she urges students to draw connections between the present and the future. “I hope students take advantage of the many opportunities available to them – both curricular and extra-curricular,” she said. “I hope students push themselves to see just how much they can accomplish without losing sight of being healthy and making good decisions.” These are sage words, coming from a woman who seems to have mastered the art of finding just the right balance.

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