New Pitzer VP for Student Affairs Addresses Housing, Campus Culture

College’s Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Carlisle has been on campus
for only three months, but already he is working on a three-year plan for
Student Affairs, professional development, and student housing, among other projects.

“For my first year, one of my biggest goals is to really begin to understand and embrace Pitzer’s culture and community,” said Carlisle, who was formerly Dean of Students at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. “It’s why I live on campus; I really want to see what students experience, I want to understand what their needs are and what their expectations are.”

devoting our time to professional development to give us a more energized focus
on the things that are affecting the work that we do, and ultimately to help
us do a better job for our students,” Carlisle said.

Carlisle’s focus on student housing mainly concerns the New Resources Students (NRS) Program, which allows people 25
years old and older to enroll at Pitzer. Pitzer President Laura Skandera Trombley charged Carlisle with
forming an ad hoc housing committee to address the Pitzer Student Senate’s NRS
resolution, which calls for a re-examination of Pitzer’s NRS housing policy.

“The culture now is that if you’re a
junior or senior, you can live off campus,” said Audrey Kolb PZ ’14, a member of the committee who has worked with Carlisle. “So the policy is looking at who
should be able to live off campus and who is required to live on campus.”

Carlisle created a new division of
Student Affairs—Campus Life—for which he appointed Drew Herbert as Associate
Dean of Students for Campus Life and Alayna Goins as New Director of Student
Activities and Orientation.

In addition, Carlisle plans to work with a task force formed to review harassment and discrimination
policies on campus. He also has spoken with the Student Affairs Advisory
Committee to implement comprehensive record-keeping of Pitzer’s traditions and to form
new traditions.

“One of my goals is to spend the
next year, two years, or three years strengthening our vibrant campus life so
that our students do have an experience here that becomes memorable for them
when they leave,” Carlisle said.

Pitzer Student Senate Chair Nicholas Romo PZ ’14 said that Carlisle also has spoken with the Pitzer Student Senate about maintaining and creating traditions. 

“I hope that he carries on that conversation,” Romo said. “I hope he says, next year, ‘This is what Nick did and the Senate did,’ so I expect him to keep it going.”

Romo said that Carlisle’s knowledge of student government has been helpful.

“In the past, Pitzer Senate had not been such a formal operation,” he said. “He showed me the resolution system, the bill system, and how to bring that to the Senate and get that passed.”

“Brian is magnificent; he was very
open from the start,” Romo said. “It’s not
part of his job, necessarily, to be the mentor to Student Senate. Having a VP
who takes interest in students and the way things are done, that is very

“I think he’s doing a fantastic job right now; I mean, he came in and everything got thrown at him all at once, and he hit the ground running,” Kolb said. “He’s impressed me with the amount of work and dedication he applies.”

Carlisle said that the Student Affairs office is implementing a three-year plan to examine student learning outcomes. He also has established a plan to hold professional-development meetings in which staff members will hear a speaker or participate in discussion. The next meeting, which will take place Nov. 14, will feature Adriana Galván, a psychology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, who will talk about brain development in adolescents.

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