Siscoe Appointed Interim VP for Student Affairs

She promises programs, services, and initiatives “to aid all Bulls in their success.”


By Kevin Burke

Special to USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (July 11, 2012) Denita (Dee) Siscoe will assume chief responsibility for Student Affairs at the University of South Florida following her promotion, by Provost and Executive Vice President Ralph Wilcox, from associate vice president of student development, learning and success to interim vice president for student affairs, effective July 16.


Embracing a holistic and student-centered philosophy characterized by integrity, excellence, diversity, engagement, community advocacy, and wellness, Student Affairs is charged with providing learning opportunities for students that enable them to discover, integrate, and apply new knowledge that increases their capacity for personal growth, responsible citizenship, and ethical leadership.


“There are very few corners of the university untouched by Student Affairs,” said Wilcox, “from housing and residential education, to student government, the Marshall Student Center, and fraternity and sorority life to multicultural affairs and campus recreation. All are integral to living out our promise to provide learning that extends beyond the classroom, and empowers students to explore their passion and make a difference in the world.


“Leadership of Student Affairs requires a balance of creative vision, high energy, enthusiasm, and empathy, together with the ability to plan and execute. In her time with us Dr. Siscoe has clearly demonstrated each of those important attributes. I’m delighted that she has agreed to step-up into this vital role.”


As associate vice president, Siscoe directly supervised the areas of New Student Connections, Leadership and Civic Engagement, Students with Disabilities Services, Veterans Services, planning and assessment, and student success and mentoring. She succeeds Jennifer Meningall, who resigned in May. Wilcox indicated the university intends to conduct a national search for a vice president for student affairs in the future, stressing that Siscoe, who received a two-year appointment, is welcome to participate in that process if she chooses.


Among her immediate assignments as interim vice president, added Wilcox, Siscoe is expected to begin implementing recommendations of the Student Affairs Transition Team that she co-chaired (with Vice Provost Kofi Glover), calling for a streamlining of Student Affairs from six administrative units to four, as well as embark upon national searches for an assistant vice president and dean of students, and an assistant vice president for wellness. Longer term, it is expected that Siscoe will work to strengthen collaborations between Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Alumni Affairs, Business & Finance, Administrative Services, USF Health, USF World and USF student leadership to the benefit of student success, as well as to realize greater synergies and eliminate unnecessary duplication.


“This is a wonderful opportunity for me to further use my experience and bring my passion for student development, learning and success to new challenges while leading a student affairs organization,” said Siscoe. “I know that the work conducted in student affairs plays a significant role in the student experience, greatly influences learning, and transforms the lives of students for lifetime success. I would like to thank Provost Wilcox and President (Judy) Genshaft for their confidence in me and for allowing me the privilege to serve the University of South Florida in the role of interim vice president for student affairs. I look forward to working with and for USF students as their chief student affairs officer, and pledge to continue to promote collaboration and strengthen partnerships throughout campus to ensure quality programs, services and initiatives to support and aid all Bulls in their success.”


Holder of a bachelor’s degree in education from Southwest Missouri State University, Siscoe received a master's of education degree in student personnel in higher education from the University of Florida, and a doctorate of education in higher education administration from the University of North Texas.


Prior to joining USF, Siscoe served as associate vice president and dean of students at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and before that as associate vice president for student life at Texas Woman's University, located in Denton. Also a former director of student development activities at the University of New Orleans, where she taught a course in leadership, Siscoe began her professional career as the director of student activities at Wittenburg University in Springfield, Ohio.


Kevin Burke can be reached at 813-974-0192.