The Office of Student Life has brought in a new face to kick off the spring semester.
Melissa Shivers, former vice president for student life at the University of Iowa, has taken on the same position at Ohio State. Shivers began her role Jan. 6, replacing Javaune Adams-Gaston, who assumed the presidency of Norfolk State University in Virginia in June 2019, according to an Ohio State press release.
Shivers said there are several things she wants to accomplish, but initially wants to emphasize student resources.
“One of the things I’m most looking forward to … is being able to sit down and listen to our students and the needs of the campus at OSU,” Shivers said. “Being able to sit down and hear from students about what those are, and then figuring out what ways I can best support them, or the Office of Student Life can best support them, is my top priority and my short- and long-term goal.”
Along with providing resources, Shivers said she is passionate about students’ well-being.
“If students are not doing well mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally — it’s really hard to show up in a classroom and to be successful,” Shivers said. “I’m looking forward to learning more about: ‘What are the great things we are doing?’ And I know that there are many. And then, ‘What are other things that students think would be helpful?’”
Shivers said the university’s rich traditions and powerful student voice compelled her to accept the position.
Two days into assuming her role, Shivers began engaging with students. She met with representatives of multiple student organizations Jan. 8 at the Keith B. Key Center for Student Leadership and Service in the Ohio Union.
“My role on this college campus is to support and advocate for students,” Shivers told the crowd. “My role and responsibility is to make sure that our students are successful.”
Julia Dennen, Undergraduate Student Government vice president, said she will work closely with the new vice president and spoke highly of her.
“She’s incredibly enthusiastic and genuine with us. We feel like she’s a real partner,” Dennen, a fourth-year in public affairs, said. “She is very detail-oriented and is often action-oriented. She is a doer.”
Dennen also said Shivers came to Ohio State prepared.
“She read tons of Lantern articles before she came to Ohio State. She’s prepared, and she does her homework, and you can tell she wants to be here,” Dennen said. “I’m excited she’s here, and I can’t wait to see what she does.”
Shivers expressed her belief in the student experience and said she looks forward to working with 6,000 employees who are “completely invested in enhancing the student experience.”