Our Student Life Team is here for you

The Student Life team is responsible for the purposeful and holistic promotion of student learning and development that enhances the overall educational experience. This team includes the Dean of Students, Assistant Dean of Students, Resident Directors, the Lifelong Learning Coordinator(s), the Dependent Child Coordinator(s), the Counseling Staff (who are part of the medical team). The Student Life team focuses on developing a dynamic and synergistic relationship between academic instruction and cocurricular learning.

Dean of Students

The Dean of Students (DOS) leads the Student Life team and is responsible for articulating the vision and setting the goals and objectives needed to promote student learning and development. They report to the Executive Dean and are a member of the voyage senior leadership team. The DOS rotates a 24-hour on-call (together with the Executive Dean, Assistant Executive Dean, and Assistant Dean of Students) for situations that need attention while the ship is in port. In particular, the Dean of Students Duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Coordinates human resources with regard to their team by Selecting, supervising, evaluating, and developing the Student Life team members
  • Initiates collaborative interaction with faculty and others that possess legitimate concerns and interests in student learning and development
  • Communicates effectively, prescribes and practices ethical behavior
  • Applies effective practices to educational and administrative processes
  • Manages financial resources

Assistant Dean of Students:

The Assistant Dean of Students is primarily responsible for adjudicating standards of conduct, an educational endeavor to foster students learning and development. Reporting to the Dean of Students, the Assistant Dean of Students is a member of the Student Life team. Duties include but are not limited to:

  • Interprets shipboard policies and procedures and helps educate the shipboard community regarding standards of conduct
  • Responds to student behavioral problems in a fair and reasonable manner
  • Protects the rights of students in the administration of the student conduct program
  • Provides learning experiences for students, found to be responsible for conduct violations
  • Initiate and encourage educational activities that serve to reduce violations of the student code of conduct
  • Works closely with psychologists to facilitate alcohol and other behavioral assessments
  • Manages the student conduct and incident reporting system (Maxient)
  • Serves on a 24/7 on-call circuit in ports
  • Supervises Student Assistants and oversee Student Affairs Office and Activities Desk
  • Coordinates cocurricular space reservations for non-class days and times
  • Provides administrative support to the Dean of Students and other duties as assigned

Resident Directors

(up to 9 hired per voyage, based on student enrollments. Occasionally there may be fewer than nine RDs on a voyage, and in that case, some of the co-curricular areas below are combined). Resident Directors help guide the integration of student life with the academic program. Reporting to the Dean of Students and serving as members of the Student Life team, Resident Directors are primarily responsible for the general welfare of all students, encouraging them to maximize their intellectual growth and personal development. Resident Directors are expected to positively influence, contribute to, and improve the quality of life of students through programming, community development activities, enforcing shipboard policies and procedures, completing various administrative tasks, and forming personal relationships with each student in his/her residential community (known as a “sea”). Resident Directors serve rotating on-call circuits in port (as first responders for situations that need attention) and at sea (conducting evening rounds). RDs may supervise undergraduate or graduate student assistants or interns. Each RD also has an approximate 1/4 time collateral assignment in one of the following co-curricular areas below:

Co-Curricular Responsibilities

Academic Success

Creates programs to assist students in achieving academic success through focusing on study skills strategies to assist them in becoming more independent and active learners. Works collaboratively with the writing center, faculty, academic dean and student affairs team to promote student academic success. Coordinates a peer tutor program, Explorer Seminar and Study Halls and an initial “Success at Sea” Series. Works collaboratively with Assistant to the Academic Dean/Registrar to advise students at risk.

Community Service/Learning and Sustainability

Engages students in experiences that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities for reflection that are intentionally designed to promote student learning and development. Coordinates Post-Port Reflections, Crew Appreciation Day, and other programs that promote civic engagement and community strengthening. Collaborates with faculty involved in service learning and field office service visits. Advises the “sustainability committee” and champions shipboard sustainability efforts.

Career Development

Assists students in developing self-knowledge related to career choice by identifying, assessing, and understanding their competencies, interests, values, and personal characteristics. Creates programs to expose students to graduate school, career, and vocational opportunities utilizing members of the shipboard community to teach/mentor in career interest areas. Facilitates pre-professional clubs, workshops, and opportunities to connect students, faculty, staff, and lifelong learners to discuss careers. Mentors GAP and First Year students that may be on their voyage.

Intercultural Competency and Diversity

Promotes academic and personal growth of traditionally underserved students and provides educational programs and services for all students that focus on: a) awareness of cultural differences, cultural commonalities, privilege, and identity; b) self-assessment of cultural awareness and possible prejudices; and c) changing prejudicial, oppressive, and stereotypical attitudes and behavior. Advises student clubs (i.e. students of color, peer educator groups, GLBTQ, etc.), and works with interested students, faculty and staff to create programs such as “ally” training as well as other advocacy programs.

Health and Wellness

Promotes education and wellness programs, services, and initiatives designed to advance the overall wellbeing of students and the entire shipboard community, in an effort to enhance student awareness and create a strong learning environment. Advises Peer Health Educators, furthers health education and healthy lifestyles through creative promotion of health related information (e.g. nutrition/healthy eating, alcohol and drug abuse, stress management, time management, overcoming homesickness, etc.); collaborates with psychologists to provide an alcohol education course/ responsible decision-making course.


Provides opportunities to develop and enhance a personal philosophy of leadership that includes understanding of self, others, and community, and acceptance of responsibilities inherent in community membership. Facilitates leadership development workshop series (e.g. Model UN program or passport to leadership). Advises and coordinates processes to secure students to host interport students, welcome/host dignitaries and other guests to the ship as well as participate in open-ships and other outreach activities.


Provides programs and activities to explore issues of purpose and meaning to enable students to pursue full spiritual growth and development. Fosters an atmosphere in which interested members of the shipboard community may freely express their religion, spirituality, and faith (i.e. services for Shabbat, Passover, Easter, weekly faith celebrations, bible studies, yoga, meditation or drum circles). Also provides programs on issues involving society, culture, equanimity, and general spirituality.

Student Activities

Provides an environment where students and student organizations are afforded opportunities and support to design and implement programs to enhance social, cultural, and intellectual involvement. Coordinates the involvement symposium, Advises Student Program Boards (who host a wide variety of programs such as coffeehouses).

Recreational Sports

Provides an environment in which students and student organizations are afforded opportunities and are offered assistance to design and implement programs to enhance recreational involvement for the entire shipboard community. Advises the Sea Olympic Committee, Recreational Sports Committee and coordinates exercise classes, intramurals, etc. throughout the voyage.

Student Assistants in Student Life

Student Life Student Assistants (SA’s) are undergraduate students who help build a strong and healthy living/learning community which complements and extends classroom learning into the greater shipboard community. In addition to this, they also help the Resident Directors carry forward their respective specialty areas. Students can apply to be a Student Life Student Assistant through the through the work-study program process.