About Us

Student Affairs: Where Life + Learning Unite

WHAT IS STUDENT AFFAIRS?

Student Affairs is the division at Gonzaga University that is responsible for facilitating and supporting the outside-the-classroom learning, living, and thriving. The professionals who work in Student Affairs are committed to helping all Zags create lives of leadership and service for the common good.

WHAT DO WE DO?

With our partners in Academic Affairs, we share the responsibility of helping our students learn. As trained professionals in our respective fields, our learning culture encourages a “guided practice,” allowing students to take the lead in their learning, pursuing ideas they are passionate about. We do so by providing our students with challenge and support, advising, counseling, teaching, coaching, guiding, and mentoring through frequent, consistent, meaningful and fun interactions. This practice provides space for students to unite their formal education with the other aspects of their life. Our team in Student Affairs works hard every day to enhance learning, nurture student success, and foster a secure and inclusive community, helping Gonzaga University to develop into a premiere Jesuit University.

DIVISIONAL COMMITTMENTS + COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE

Our organizational structure is divided into three “communities of practice,” with each being led and supported by a dean, centered around three pillars: (1) Advancing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; (2) Promoting Wellbeing & Flourishing; and (3) Fostering an Integrated Approach to Student Learning & Development.  

Learn more about how Student Affairs is embracing our commitments. 

Kent Porterfield Kent Porterfield

Dr. Kent Porterfield

As a first-generation college student, Dr. Kent Porterfield experienced the transformative power of a higher education. He was blessed to have mentors who believed in him and helped him grow. This support inspired his work today; he believes his purpose is helping students to find their purpose, voice and passions, and to prepare themselves for lives of great meaning, devotion and fulfillment. Dr. Porterfield strives to foster a climate at Gonzaga University in which every student feels respected, valued and that deep sense of belonging all of us needs and desires. He calls the Student Affairs Division to cultivate an educational experience where students will come to know themselves better, learn about the views and experiences of others, and take action that builds just communities; making the work of Student Affairs the place where life and learning unite.

 

Molly Ayers, Assistant Dean for the Center for Community Engagement. 

Joan Iva Fawcett, Dean, Social Justice, Leadership + Community Empowerment

Matt Lamsma, Dean of Student Development

Paula Smith, Interim Dean of Wellbeing + Flourishing

Colleen Quinn Vandenboom, PhD, Assistant Dean for Research, Assessment + Communication

 
There are over 17 departments that encompass Student Affairs. Learn more about our programs!
 
Student Affairs encompasses over 17 offices and 130 employees. Learn more by looking at our organizational chart.
 

Facts + Figures

83%

Of Zags are Involved in a Student Club

#1

Peace Corps Participation for Small Schools

92%

First-year student retention rate

141

Of Zags are Military Veterans