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New Dean of Students Starts

Photo by Laura K. Cucullu

New Dean of Students Joanna Iwata has hit the ground running. Hired at the end of last spring, Iwata heads the Division of Student Life, formerly known as the Office of Student Life, encompassing student services centered around life and well-being.

With a 20-year history in student services at both large and small, public and private colleges including Mills, Iwata said her main focus is providing students the assistance they need for a productive educational environment.

"I've really been looking at how we organize and share information on-campus activities," Iwata said. "I love Mills and am so glad to be back."

Some summer changes, like the Writing Center's move to Rothwell Center, have been to try and centralize services. She said the College is also looking at future possibilities for more centralized dining services.

Her division is also responsible for a host of new programs on campus, including Mills Life 101, Academic Fusion, living/learning communities and cluster groups for residential students.

Previously at Mills from 1982-84 as assistant director of student activities, Iwata was also the director of student involvement at East Carolina College in Greensboro, N.C., before she returned to Mills. She's worked at several other colleges and universities around the country and also worked in both professional and diversity consulting for a few years.

"She's just the right woman at the right time," President Janet Holmgren said, "interested in fostering women's leadership and invested in communicating."

The Division of Student Life includes student activities and health programs, services for students with disabilities, counseling and career guidance and other student-related services.