The University of Pittsburgh is moving to integrate Student Affairs more widely across the institution to better serve Pitt’s students.
This strategy comes in response to one of the many lessons of the pandemic: a fuller realization of the incredibly close relationship between health and safety, belongingness and academic success. By broadening its reach, Student Affairs will be better positioned to drive integration in academic areas—both at the undergraduate and graduate levels—while further enhancing campus climate, student well-being, career services, diversity, equity and inclusion, and the alignment of resources that support student success.
To launch this transformative vision, Kenyon Bonner, who currently serves as the University of Pittsburgh’s vice provost and dean of students, will be taking on an expanded role in University leadership. To accommodate these responsibilities—and to maximize the growth and stability of Student Affairs—Bonner will step back from his role as dean of students once a new dean of students is identified through a national search. The new dean will work closely with, and report to, Vice Provost Bonner.
“The University of Pittsburgh’s success is intricately linked to the success of our students—both during their time on our campuses and long after graduation day,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “No one understands this relationship better than Kenyon, who has dedicated his career to supporting the important work of educating tomorrow’s leaders.”
In this newly defined role, Bonner will also serve as the liaison to Student Affairs on the Bradford, Greensburg, Johnstown and Titusville campuses and will be a standing member of the Chancellor’s Senior Leadership Team. Additionally, this reorganization—which reflects the structure found in Student Affairs operations at many peer institutions—will allow the vice provost for student affairs to collaborate and advise leaders across the University in all areas of the student experience. In addition, Bonner will continue to lead Student Affairs efforts related to equity, diversity and inclusion.
“Kenyon Bonner’s exceptional work and deep expertise make him exactly the right person to lead in this space. His passionate dedication, empathy and tireless work on behalf of Pitt’s students is not only well-known but game-changing. As he continues to lead Student Affairs, I know that he will do so in ways that will continue to transform the University for the better,” said Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd.
Bonner’s many achievements and contributions at the University include providing key leadership on the new Campus Wellness and Recreation Center project on the Pittsburgh campus; facilitating the expansion of student mental health services and support; leading the development of the Student Affairs’ anti-racism action plan and University-wide diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; creating the Office of New Student Programs in partnership with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid; and working to realize the Provost Academy—a vital component of the Pitt Success Pell Match initiative, among many other efforts.
Bonner holds an EdD in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania. His research focus is sense of belonging for Black undergraduate men. He also serves as a professor of practice in Pitt’s School of Education.
A national search for a dean of students will begin over the next few weeks. Marc Harding, vice provost for enrollment, will chair the search committee.
“I look forward to guiding this revisioning of Student Affairs. I know there is much opportunity ahead,” said Bonner. “I believe that my vantage point in this new role will benefit students across all Pitt campuses and allow the University to offer an even more robust student experience to them.”