As she settles into her office in Woodbridge Hall, University Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews ’83 LAW ’86 is still ironing out her plans for coordinating student affairs across Yale.
The newest addition to Yale’s set of officers, Goff-Crews arrived in August to fill a position created by University President Richard Levin last January — in part to relieve duties from Vice President Linda Lorimer, who previously served as secretary as well. During her first two months in office, Goff-Crews met with student life administrators in Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the 12 professional schools, as well as students from across the University, to identify issues in students’ day-to-day lives. While Goff-Crews says she has not had enough conversations to develop specific goals and detail plans, she hopes to establish a list of student life priorities soon that focus on both graduate and undergraduate life.
“I’m interested in things where solutions in one area impact a number of students across the board,” she said. “A lot of it will be based on what students tell me.”
As Yale’s first University-wide student life administrator, Goff-Crews is expected to understand and present the student point of view to the officers — the University’s highest-ranked administrators — and the Yale Corporation. As secretary, Goff-Crews said she considers herself a “steward of tradition” — charged with coordinating annual ceremonial events such as the freshman assembly and Commencement. In keeping with the secretary duties that she inherited from Lorimer, Goff-Crews will also serve as liaison to the Yale Corporation.
Levin said he had his own eventual departure in mind when he appointed Goff-Crews to her new role.
“It is clear that when I appointed her to the secretary’s job, it was understood she would be here during a transition. Although I didn’t know at that point [when it would be], I knew it would be in the next few years,” Levin said. “The secretary’s role with the Corporation will give her special responsibility to make sure any transition works well.”
Rather than focusing her efforts on one specific school, Goff-Crews said she aims to work on issues that affect all students and to make sure undergraduates, graduate students and professional students have opportunities to meet each other. In her previous role as vice president for campus life at the University of Chicago, Goff-Crews overhauled student health services and specifically targeted mental health offerings. She cited health services as one cross-cutting issue she could address at Yale as well.
Within Yale College, Goff-Crews said she will mainly provide advice to Dean Mary Miller and Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry on their request. Though Goff-Crews oversees student affairs administrators across the University, Miller and Gentry do not report directly to her.
Miller said she is currently “working on getting to know” Goff-Crews and developing an agenda of projects on which the two can collaborate.
Goff-Crews said she has been meeting with undergraduate student leaders to identify their concerns. She recently attended a meeting of the Undergraduate Organizations Committee, and plans to meet with the Yale College Council this week. Goff-Crews added that she is excited to work with the many student organizations on campus, which she said have expanded in “depth and breadth” since she graduated from Yale College in 1983.
Yale College Council President John Gonzalez ’14 said he hopes to work with Goff-Crews on a schoolwide voter registration effort this fall in anticipation of the presidential election in November.
Goff-Crews served as assistant dean and director of the Afro-American Cultural Center from 1992-’98.