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5 Minutes with Fall 2012 Dean of Students Lisa Slavid

Dean of Students Lisa Slavid chats with Quincy Goodwin from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Siettah Parks from the University of Wisconsin Madison at dinner. Photos by Melinda LaBrie.

Lisa Slavid, Dean of Students for the Fall 2012 voyage, sailed on her first voyage in ’98 as a Residential Director. Later, in 2007, she served as the Dean of Students for the first time.

Aside from her work with Semester at Sea, Slavid is an accomplished cartoonist and DJ. We sat down with the Dean of Students, Lisa Slavid, for an exclusive interview to find out more about her life behind-the-scenes.

Q: This is your third voyage, what’s kept you coming back to Semester at Sea?
A sense of joy, wonder, and connection.

Q:  What kind of skills did you take from being a DJ that you’re now using as a Dean?

Everything in my life that I’ve learned has provided to be useful time and time again in ways that I didn’t expect. I think DJing is about reading the crowd. I want to play a diverse amount of songs and gauge the crowd’s energy. I have to recognize what the crowd needs even though they might not know what it is that they need, be open to requests and know that I can’t fulfill everyone’s requests.

Q: Who initially influenced you to get involved with these creative leadership positions?

My parents were really supportive of me in finding out what I was passionate and motivated about. There‚Äôs a Talmud saying that says, ‘Every blade of grass has an angel whispering over its shoulder that says ‚Äògrow‚Äô,’ and I feel like I‚Äôve had 20 people or 50 people that have said, ‘Go forth and be the best that you can be.’

Dean Slavid addresses the community at logistical pre-port for our arrival in Argentina.

Q: How did you conceptualize your cartoon blog “Peadoodles”?

I’ve always doodled. I just reached an age of artistic maturity when I realized I could be immature. Even in simplicity, there is a lot of complexity with these little guys. All of the sudden I was like “I’m going to make jokes about fruits and vegetables.” And then everything and everyone started playing the game with me. I have over 600 and people still give me ideas.

Q: Obviously, you enjoy making people laugh and seeing people smile, and that translates to what you do here on Semester at Sea. What do you feel is the most important aspect of your role?

Supporting and honoring students and really staying connected to values. If you dig behind the policies in our policy book, it’s all about respect and safety and being able to connect with students, encouraging them to be their best selves. I have just as much to learn from the students as I have to teach them.

Q: What do you think is a person’s most valuable trait?

I’m going to go with compassion. One of the things I’ve noticed about getting to hear the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu speak is that they’re both so wise, so full of compassion, and giggles.

  • Education
  • Life at Sea

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