16 March 2020: New Dean of Students Dave Stanfield builds a culture of care for students at Yale-NUS College

By Joscelin Sun

Image by Yale-NUS College

Known for its highly diverse and vibrant campus life, caring for students and helping them grow beyond the classroom has been at the forefront of the Yale-NUS College experience since its inception. As the new Dean of Students, Dr Dave Stanfield believes that “genuinely caring about students’ growth, development and well-being” and “empathising with their struggles” will enable the College to continue to strengthen its close-knit community and create an environment where students feel at ease pursuing their passions and building long-term connections.

“As Dean of Students, I hope to act as a connector, to help to build connections with Yale-NUS students, staff and faculty. I am a big fan of Lunch Tag, which has allowed me to meet a range of people in the community that I may not have encountered otherwise. Likewise, the Yale-NUS student-run coffee cart Brewhouse has graciously welcomed me as a fellow barista for one shift a week, which appeals to both my love of coffee and my desire to connect with the Yale-NUS community.”

Dean Stanfield is no stranger to diverse student outreach and development, having served as Associate Dean of Students at the College over the past half a year. He had also previously served as Director of Student Activities and First-Year Programmes at Carnegie Mellon University in Doha, Qatar, where he worked alongside students to develop their leadership skills and intercultural competence.

On the academic front, Dean Stanfield holds a PhD in Higher Education Administration from the Boston College Center for International Higher Education, where his research focus was on innovative forms of transnational higher education.

In his new role, Dean Stanfield intends to draw on his previous career and academic experiences to strengthen student care structures and promote student development and growth in the College.

“I have three main priorities. First, my team is working to implement a new student care structure within the residential colleges, where we will have Residential Life Officers who are dedicated to responding to student needs. Second, we will be developing a residential curriculum to facilitate and enhance learning opportunities beyond the classroom and lastly, we hope to continue building on existing consent education programmes and improve support for students in distress or in need.”

Outside of work, Dean Stanfield enjoys playing badminton with other Yale-NUS faculty and staff, and spending quality time with his family who also lives on campus.

“We are the type of family that likes to be close to the action and living on campus certainly provides a wide range of activities for us to engage in. A highlight for the family this year was attending the Ballroom Dance Showcase, which really illustrated the talent and creativity of Yale-NUS students. We also enjoy eating together in the dining hall alongside students.”

Dean Stanfield has a soft spot for campus life and loves hanging out in the Elm courtyard every evening with his family. Such a personal connection to the campus complements his passion for his job and he looks forward to building stronger bonds with students in his new role.