Q&A with the dean of students

Dione Somerville is the dean of students for Iowa State.

What is your favorite memory of college?

The entire experience. I’m sure it’s far away enough that I’m wearing rose-colored glasses, but I loved my entire collegiate experience.

What is your favorite thing about Iowa State or Ames?

I like the helpfulness of individuals in our campus community.

Where is your favorite place to eat in town?

The Hub, usually Caribou. I love a nice cup of coffee or tea with dessert, especially cheesecake.

How was your freshman year?

Full of transition: away from home, out of state, moving from Detroit, Mich., to a small university bordered by corn fields and woods.

What was the most embarrassing moment of your freshman year? Did you make any silly freshman mistakes?

I enrolled in a computer programming class when what I really wanted was an introduction to computers course. That term, I learned the true value of study groups.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Be willing to explore, stay open to possibilities and move out of your comfort zone.

When did you know what you wanted to do with your life? When did it click, when did learning become fun?

I’ve always loved learning and still do. I didn’t decide on my current career path until my senior year of college; in January. My buddies were interviewing for jobs and I was applying to grad school.

How did you get where you are now in your career?

I’ve always worked at colleges or universities. My master’s and doctorate are both in higher education disciplines.

Describe your job. What are your duties?

See attached link: http://www.dso.iastate.edu/docs/DSOMissionStatement.pdf

What is your favorite thing about your job?

Providing support and being involved with the full range of students and student issues-from students in crisis to dynamic student leaders.

What was your proudest accomplishment of the last year?

As a staff, being able to provide support for so many different crises, from H1N1 response to victims of sexual misconduct to student deaths.

What is your biggest goal for next year?

To continue to contribute to a meaningful collegiate experience for our growing student body.

What do you think is the biggest issue currently facing students? What can we do about it?

I think the biggest issue currently facing students is the same as it has been for years-reflective, responsible and conscientious decision making. Too many decisions are made by default, by peer groups, and by lack of foresight. Individual students are smarter than you sometimes let yourselves believe.

What are you most looking forward to in the next year?

The continued growth of our greek community, continued construction of the State Gym addition, hiring of new staff in Multicultural Student Affairs, completion of the Sloss House renovation

What are your must-do and must-see things for students? What does a student have to do before they graduate? Before they finish their freshman year?

Actually take a stroll around campus, it’s actually quite pretty and I think we don’t always notice that when we’re bustling from one building to the next. My favorite is in spring when all the trees are in bloom.