Vice President of Student Affairs talks about challenges and plans for BC’s future


Shawna Cooper-Gibson, vice president of student affairs, said there are four challenges that “come in rotation” on her desk.

“Challenges [are] around sexual assault, prejudice, alcohol abuse and mental health,” Cooper-Gibson said.

During a panel discussion on Wednesday, co-hosted by the AHANA Pre-Law Student Association and the Boston College Mock Trial, Cooper-Gibson discussed how students can help foster a positive BC experience for the community. as a whole, an experience that reinforces the strengths of British Columbia while addressing the challenges facing the University.

Cooper-Gibson said the smarts, academic spirit and collaborative partnerships she sees at BC can all help improve student life on campus. She then listed three additional traits that she believes can contribute to student success.

“There’s a trifecta,” Cooper Gibson said. “First and foremost, academics – you all get your degrees. Secondly, we are a Jesuit Catholic institution, so I want you to have some level of spiritual training…and then thirdly…I want you to have fun.

Cooper-Gibson said she will introduce enhanced academic planning for freshmen in the fall, explaining how she wants all students, regardless of major, to have academic planning similar to that offered at the Carroll School of Management via Portico – a business ethics course for all first-year CSOM students.

She also emphasized the importance for freshmen to support student-athletes and the greater BC community.

“I don’t need you to go to a sporting event, but I want you to support student-athletes,” Cooper-Gibson said. “It’s how you choose your own adventure and identify those key experiences.”

Cooper-Gibson stressed the importance of building strong bonds among freshmen, explaining how she plans to adapt Welcome Week to achieve this.

“We keep all freshmen together by floor for the entire weekend,” she said. “I will have you with your floor because your floor is your family. … There are people you’re not going to agree with, but you have to respect people, and I think that’s what’s missing. You know, I’ve heard of billboards that have been torn down. It’s not acceptable, but the first battle is to strike up a conversation and get to know each other.

Cooper-Gibson said she hopes to partner with student groups to facilitate conversations on topics including identity, diversity, ethnic heritage celebrations, accessibility and disabilities during school week. ‘homepage.

“Part of the reason we’re doing the opening weekend lineup is because, how many of you have taken the DiversityEdu module?” says Cooper-Gibson. “It’s not how you all learn about diversity, but I felt like I was getting HR training.”

Anyone can address themes surrounding diversity, Cooper-Gibson said, because there are types of diversity beyond race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

“I’m the youngest in my family,” Cooper-Gibson said. “I am also the youngest in my family. I got very disjointed very quickly, and that also speaks to my identity. And so there are different rooms that people can tell their stories from.

At the end of the conference, Cooper-Gibson hosted questions and conversations with approximately 30 students who attended the roundtable.

Going forward, Cooper-Gibson said she wants to cultivate a collaborative environment with students, hoping to improve the BC experience through student feedback.

“And really, one of my next steps is to work with all of you,” Cooper-Gibson said. “What are the things you want to see your freshman year, your sophomore year, your junior year, senior year and really build that on?”


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