7.6.17 Updated SAJ headshot.jpgShirley A. Jefferson'86, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity

The Office of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity serves as the primary focal point for addressing student needs, issues, and concerns and serves as a resource and referral office for all faculty, staff, and students. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity represents the student’s perspective to the Vermon​t Law School community.

This office works with all segments of the Vermont Law School community to help students develop through opportunities, advice, and assistance. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity provides consultation, new program development, and assistance with special projects for the Dean of Vermont Law School. Specifically, the Associate Dean publishes the Student Handbook, advises the Student Bar Association (SBA), assists the Dean in processing cases of discriminatory personal conduct, including sexual harassment and sexu al assault, provides human relations programming, coordinates campus-wide community meetings, supervises first-year orientation, coordinates crisis intervention and emergency response strategies with the deans, and promotes the academic and personal growth and development of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender law students and other underrepresented student organizations.

The second main function of the Associate Dean’s Office includes oversight of student event planning and sponsorship or participation in programming, such as the annual Martin Luther King celebration, the annual Jewish Law Students Association Seder, Veterans Day Program, the annual Alliance Conference, the annual Women’s Law Group's conference, and other activities that focus on various ethnic, religious, and international law student populations. Programming is scheduled year-round in the arts, law, history, and literature.

Two campus-wide committees are chaired by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity. All VLS community members are welcome to attend their monthly meetings.

  • The Diversity Committee comprises two faculty representatives, a staff representative, and student representatives from each student group funded by the SBA. The primary mission of the Diversity Committee is to educate the VLS community to understand the diversity, differences, needs, and obstacles confronted by faculty, staff, and students with diverse backgrounds.

  • The Student Services Committee comprises a staff representative from each department of the law school, two faculty representatives, and the SBA Vice President for Student Affairs. The Student Services Committee meets monthly to exchange information, respond to concerns, and use their collective expertise to suggest solutions.

The Office for Student Affairs oversees the Student Ambassador Program. Student Ambassadors report to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity and are responsible for assisting with Fall Orientation, Alumni Affair events, Development activities, Admissions Open House, and other various events. When not in class, Ambassadors are on-call, responsive to campus emergencies and last-minute event needs, whenever requested by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity.

The Office for Student Affairs and Diversity is also responsible for managing student lockers and VLS identification cards (VLS ID). There are blocks of time set aside during orientation week for new students, faculty, and staff to get VLS ID cards. An email announcement will go out when lockers are ready for rent. Please see Theresa Johnson, Assistant Director for Student Affairs and Diversity, if you have questions about lockers, or ID cards.