Fonner Named Dean of Students at Slippery Rock

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Although the job description varies from campus to campus, the dean of students position in higher education is a person who oversees the care and conduct of students. Until recently, Slippery Rock University did not have a dean of students.But SRU did have staff dedicated to these duties shared between two different offices. That changed this week with Karla Fonner, formerly the director of student support, assuming the role of dean of students.

Fonner will continue in her role leading the Student Support Office, but will assume oversight of the Student Conduct Office, which will soon have a new director who will report to Fonner. A search is underway for the director of student conduct after the recent resignation of Leigh Ann Gilmore.

“Karla has served as our de facto dean of students for many years, providing crisis intervention, connecting students to resources and working with faculty to ensure that students are supported in times of need,” says David Wilmes, chief student affairs officer. “She has done an excellent job navigating this work and serving our students effectively. I see the addition of Student Conduct as the natural progression of this role, and the dean of students title will help both internal and external constituents understand where to refer students in times of need.”

Fonner has been SRU’s director of student support since 2014 and has worked at the university since 2002. The Student Support Office is a central location where faculty, staff, students, parents or community members can refer students experiencing or causing distress that interferes with learning, development and success.

“The creation of a dean of students position helps recognize the level of importance in the work that is happening in student support and student conduct,” Fonner says. “For me, this title is really about making the advocacy for our students more efficient and effective.”

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