Stacey Harris, dean’s fellow, associate director of disability & access services and member of the student life management team at Boston University, has been selected as William & Mary’s next dean of students. 

Harris, who has worked in higher education for 23 years, will assume the position on May 10. She succeeds Marjorie Thomas, who left W&M last July to become vice president for student affairs at the New College of Florida in Sarasota. Mark Sikes has been serving as interim dean of students since last summer.

An adaptive leader who approaches her work through a restorative and social justice lens, Harris has spent more than two decades overseeing student affairs operations and developing sustainable programming and resources to promote student success.

“I am excited to be welcomed to a campus that focuses so holistically on student wellness, community values and social justice,” Harris said. “To have the honor of working for and with William & Mary students and to be able to lend my background and skills to further the university’s mission is an extraordinary opportunity.” 

Reporting directly to the vice president for student affairs and serving as a member of the vice president’s senior leadership team, Harris will “play a central role in realizing the division’s vision to create an engaging learning environment where community is strengthened and individuals flourish,” according to the position announcement. 

An advocate for undergraduate and graduate students alike, “the [Dean of Students Office] endeavors to promote the academic and personal success of students, to ensure programs and services are supportive of a diverse and inclusive campus environment and support a strong sense of community and personal integrity among students.” The dean of students supervises a number of critical student-life program areas, including academic enrichment programs, community values and restorative practices (student honor and conduct), student accessibility services, student services and care support, parent and family programs, the Haven and the Center for Student Diversity. 

“Stacey brings to William & Mary an exceptional record of success, particularly in the areas of accessibility services, restorative practices and conflict resolution. As an experienced senior leader in student affairs, she is deeply committed to students and promoting their success, both in and outside the classroom,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler. “We are excited to welcome Stacey Harris as our next dean of students.”

“We are enormously grateful to Mark Sikes for his strong leadership as interim dean of students over these last 10 months. He has been unfailing in his commitment to serving our students with compassion and care, especially during this time of pandemic.”

After holding leadership positions at Lesley University and Monmouth University, Harris hails most recently from Boston University where, over the past 14 years, she has served as a member of the Student Life Management Team under the associate provost and dean of students. In that role, she supervised a team responsible for university-wide Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) policy and student counseling, served as a Title IX deputy and in 2020 established the Student Conflict Resolution Program, a university-wide initiative focused on developing a shared language and tools for managing difficult conversations and experiences.

“Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to hold posts that have allowed me to straddle both the academic and student affairs sides of the house,” Harris said. “I can recognize a wall as arbitrary and reach across real or imagined barriers in a way that engenders trust and goodwill – by simply asking how I can best be of help. 

“Such collaboration is essential for creating a cohesive framework wherein we can support each other to do our best work and serve as an example for our students.”

At Boston University, Harris also regularly taught co-curricular courses centered around belonging and communication, served as an advisor to several student organizations and worked actively in the community as a presenter and consultant for nonprofit organizations, professional associations and educational institutions on well-being and mental health, the transition to college, conflict resolution and family mediation.

Harris holds a B.A. from Curry College, a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School and certifications in mediation, restorative justice dialogue and social justice mediation.

“I could not be more excited to join William & Mary,” Harris said. “When I came to campus, I knew instantly it was a special place. It’s the people. The students were open about their challenges and dreams. 

“Their undeniable love of the university and pride in W&M made me want to be a part of that magic.”

, University News & Media