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September 1, 1994

Public, Student Affairs combined under Haley

Public, Student Affairs combined under Haley

Chancellor J. Dennis O'Connor has announced an expansion of the Office of Public Affairs by aligning it with the Office of Student Affairs into the new Office of Student and Public Affairs.

O'Connor said that the move was taken to strengthen and enhance the two previously independent units.

"The alliance of Student Affairs and Public Affairs reflects a synergy between the missions of the two units and emphasizes the University's earnest and consistent commitment to both functions," he said in a written statement.

"Students are a vital part of the public we serve on campus," O'Connor added, "and as alumni, they become a vital part of a larger public that we will serve for many years into the future." Leon Haley, executive director of Public Affairs, has been named to head the new combined unit as vice chancellor for Student and Public Affairs.

"Dr. Haley's experience in higher education and in student affairs made him the logical choice to fill an untimely vacancy," O'Connor said. "He has proven to be a competent and able leader in public affairs, and this promotion reflects an expansion of his existing duties." "I consider this to be a significant challenge, merging the concept of student and public affairs," Haley said.

Haley told the University Times that there is an administrative advantage to the move because it streamlines operations.

Even more importantly, though, he said the move is designed to help provide a good environment for students and to create a good image of the University in the minds of students that will translate into support for Pitt when those students become alumni.

"The idea is to enhance the environment while students are here, so they retain a sense of loyalty to the University," he explained.

However, not everyone in the University community is looking upon the move as a positive step for Student Affairs.

In a letter dated Aug. 2, Senate Council President Jim Holland urged Jonathan Schooler, chairperson of the Senate's student affairs committee, to have his committee discuss the appointment and issue a statement on it.

"Unless I am mistaken no one in the Senate was approached about this major change in student affairs," Holland wrote. "Combining it with public affairs is a significant down grading. And Haley has almost no experience in student affairs." According to the news release announcing his appointment, Haley served two years as dean of student affairs in Pitt's School of Social Work. Holland noted that the action will be discussed at Faculty Assembly on Sept. 8 and urged Schooler to have his committee discuss the issue prior to the assembly.

In a letter to members of the student affairs committee dated Aug. 16, Schooled noted that "the creation of this new position as well as Haley's appointment to it was done with little consultation, faculty or students, and no input from members of the Faculty Senate, including this committee." School said the move would be discussed at today's (Sept. 1) meeting of the student affairs committee.

The reorganization follows the June announcement by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs William W. Harmon that he would leave Pitt on Aug. 31 to become vice president of Student Affairs at the University of Virginia.

According to O'Connor, the incorporation of student affairs and public affairs under Haley's supervision will not result in any staff or resources reductions in either unit.

Following a six-month search, Haley was named executive director for public affairs in March. He came to Pitt after serving nine years as president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Pittsburgh.

Prior to joining the Urban League, Haley served from 1984 to 1985 as acting dean in Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. From 1975 to 1984, he also served as associate dean and associate professor in GSPIA.

In addition, from 1970 to 1974, Haley held a variety of academic and administrative positions in Pitt's School of Social Work, including a two-year stint as dean of student affairs. In that position, he was responsible for student recruitment, admissions, financial aid and placement activities.

Before coming to Pitt in 1970, Haley served as associate dean of academic improvement and development at Point Park College.

Haley is a member of the Governor's Advisory Committee on African American Affairs and the Greater Pittsburgh Race Relations Forum.

–Mike Sajna

Filed under: Feature,Volume 27 Issue 1

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