This is the first in a series of student-led candid conversations with members of leadership at University of Michigan.
In this campus conversation, Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones, PhD, joined #UMSocial intern Miffy Tani to explore what being a Dean of Students entails, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, and maintaining health and well-being.
In her role, Blake Jones is an advocate for the student experience and works to ensure that the student community is able to thrive and succeed.
“The most rewarding thing about being the Dean of Students at Michigan is the students that I get to work with.”
She shared that the fall semester has been challenging for the campus community, and that the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused concerns and difficulties. But in spite of all of the hardships faced, she said one of the things she wishes people understood was just how serious U-M students have taken the pandemic.
“People believe that at this time in college students’ lives that they’re more likely to be selfish. I’ve just seen a lack of selfishness and a lot of thinking about others in the students that I’ve been working with this fall,” she said.
Blake Jones also emphasized that she is hopeful about 2021, especially with recent news about vaccine progress. With the added stress and tension of the virus and public health guideline adherence, she worries about student wellbeing and hopes that students continue to look out for their fellow Wolverines throughout the holiday breaks and after. The U-M community and remaining connected, virtually and safely, is most important right now.
“We have to be there for each other. And I know that Michigan students will stay strong, that they will persevere, that they’re resilient, and that they exemplify being leaders at our best in one of the most challenging times ever.”