BY ENRICA BARBERIS
Have you ever felt like you needed someone to talk to? Maybe you needed a little guidance in a moment of struggle but didn’t want to talk to a counselor. Or have you had health problems and had to talk to a doctor, but had no idea how to in Italy?
All your questions are answered at the Dean of Student’s Office. Deanna Mayer, our Dean of Students is a star. Her office is made of a great team: Valentina Di Blasi, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Marta Canigiula, Coordinator for Student Health Services and Wellbeing. The team collaborates with the counsellors, doctors, and all other health related services on campus, and even organises meditation classes.
As the dean, it’s Mayer’s job to respond to students’ needs and plan campus life events. In other words, Mayer is a point of information for students and responding to students’ needs. Her o ce is located in the Gianicolo Residence and is open to students who wish to just walk in with a quick question, as well as to students who are dealing with more serious problems.
If you are a study abroad, a freshmen, or a JCU housing resident you will certainly remember the extensive amount of work on security and alcohol awareness during orientation week. The safety sessions, first day curfews, and the new ‘after eight’ alcohol policy events were all organized by the Dean of Students’ office.
These events and policies were quite successful. “Students get it. They follow the rules, are back by the curfew and later are appreciative,” Mayer said.
CS, a JCU student, told us about her first days in college. “I went to Deanna’s o ce during my rst semester here just to ask where a classroom was located. Deanna was so nice that she walked me to the building, and struck up a conversation with me. She noticed that I was much younger than most people at JCU and literally acted as a mother figure during my first semester – just until I was able to get on my feet and make friends,” CS said.
“A few weeks later, when Deanna found out I was having problems with my roommates, she immediately arranged another housing option for me. She was super adamant on the no bullying policy. She even gave me her cell phone number and would occasionally send a text and check on me. I don’t think I’d still be at JCU if it wasn’t for Deanna’s support,” CS admits.
Mayer is in fact a mother-of four-and a true resource of JCU. Since she began working here in August of 2015, the student support group has signicantly improved. The main word Mayer repeats many times throughout the interview is “support”. As CS said, supporting students and helping them through their struggle may just be what she does best.
“The favorite part of my job is working with students and with the sta in JCU. I hope students realize how special staff and professors are,” Mayer said, “I like dreaming with them and see what we can achieve.”
As a matter of fact, ‘dreaming’ as Mayer said is the key to making progress. Many improvements are happening at the Dean’s Office. The counseling o ce is growing, and group sessions will be organized.