Vice President for Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez has announced he will step down as an administrator and return to teaching at the University in January so he can work closely with more students.
Gonzalez said he aimed to support students and organizations and provide them with resources to host events on campus. He has worked in student affairs for 21 years at five universities, including six years at UT.
“A big part of student affairs is to make students’ aspirations, dreams and goals come to life,” Gonzalez said. “Administrators become much better staff members if we listen to our students intensely because we always can improve our programs
As an administrator, Gonzalez said he worked with students to brainstorm ideas for programs that would improve campus life such as bringing distinguished speakers to the University and creating new resources like the Student Activity Center.
“When I was going to graduate school, I desperately needed housing assistance, financial aid assistance and academic tutorials,” Gonzalez said. “A large portion of my success is directly attributable to the programs I discovered through student affairs. I’m passionate about providing those same resources to students at the University.”
Gonzalez said many campus facilities are primarily focused on fostering academic success, but it is important to provide services that benefit other aspects of student life. He said he is proud the Student Activity Center now exists to better accommodate students.
“The Texas Union was much too small to serve all the needs of our students,” he said. “Students needed another living room for themselves, a place to rest, hang out and have their own events. The resources at the Student Activity Center were planned by students to meet their needs, and it also provides them with an opportunity to learn to run these facilities.”
Gonzalez said he will remain active in the UT community when he returns to lecturing in the College of Education.
“I want to improve the profession by training young professionals,” he said. “I’m invested in perfection, and I want to expand my reach of influence.”
President William Powers Jr. said in a press release that Gonzalez’s initiatives have improved the college experience for UT students.
“His service as vice president has been marked by a steadfast commitment to putting our students first, and I am delighted he will remain in the Longhorn family, sharing his wisdom and expertise with our students,” Powers said.
Student Government president Natalie Butler said she has worked with Gonzalez on several projects for student activities and organizations. She said she hopes Gonzalez will help with the search process for future student affairs administrators to continue his vision for improving campus life.
“I think of all different areas of campus, student affairs really has its finger on the pulse of the student body,” Butler said. “I think more student input is always a good thing, and it’s something Student Government is always working on.”