Melinda Stoops, the current associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Framingham State University, will take over as Boston College’s associate VP for student affairs starting in June, the University announced this week.
Stoops takes over a role that oversees the Women’s Center, the Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center, University Counseling Services, University Health Services, and the Office of Graduate Student Life. She will also serve as BC’s Title IX coordinator for students.
The position has been filled on an interim basis by Kathleen Yorkis since December, when Katie O’Dair left to become the dean of students for Harvard College.
“We are thrilled to have Melinda joining the Student Affairs staff at Boston College,” Vice President for Student Affairs Barb Jones said to the Office of Marketing Communications. “She is seen by colleagues as an innovator and a bridge builder with an infectious spirit. We look forward to her bringing those skills and traits to our campus.”
In a phone interview Sunday, Stoops talked about her career trajectory up to this point and what drew her to BC. Stoops is a licensed psychologist, and intended when she was in grad school to end up teaching. But once she got some clinical experience and started doing some counseling, she was attracted to that side of the field. In her doctoral work, she had the opportunity to set up counseling services at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, a small Catholic college in Indiana that at the time didn’t have counseling. She also spent a year at Indiana University.
When she graduated, she worked in the prison system for a few years, including the women’s prison in Framingham.
“I got a lot of good experience with crisis management and working with people with trauma experience,” Stoops said.
But she decided the system and her next job, in community mental health, weren’t the best long-term fits for her, and she missed academia, so she became the director of the counseling center at Framingham State, after which she became the assistant dean of students, with oversight of the counseling center and also offices like campus ministry and the career center. In 2008, she became the dean of students, in which role she also administered academic issues, allowing her to collaborate a lot with faculty.
Stoops didn’t initially see the job posting for the BC role—she had two people forward it to her.
“I think what initially drew me to BC was the role itself sounded very interesting,” she said. “The offices that I would be overseeing are a really nice fit for my background.”
In addition to her psychologist credentials and background in counseling services, she went to Smith College for undergrad and much of Stoops’s graduate school work dealt with women’s issues. At Framingham State, she had oversight of the multicultural center. She said she was especially attracted to BC’s mission and the people she met during her interview process.
“The idea of serving others and focusing on the whole person is something that as a psychologist really fits with my professional background and my interest personally with looking at people as the whole person,” she said. “For me it’s so important for me to be at a place that has such a strong, positive sense of community. That’s something that I’ve enjoyed at my current institution and I really prioritized it wherever I was going.”
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