Associate Dean of Undergraduates Don Ostdiek received special recognition from the Rice Board of Trustees at the Sept. 20 meeting for his many contributions to the university.
“Over the past 15 years, Don has served the university in many capacities in the Division of Student Affairs, the School of Social Sciences and the dean’s office,” Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson wrote in his nomination letter. “In each of these roles, he has significantly enhanced the experiences of our students, both undergraduate and graduate.”
Hutchinson said that among his first acts as dean was appointing Ostdiek to his current position as associate dean.
Referring to his role as the associate dean for student judicial programs, Hutchinson wrote, “Don has developed extraordinary skill at this job, transforming it from a purely disciplinary role to an office central to the education mission of the university.”.
“Under his guidance, students are taught to understand the consequences of their errors for others in the community and how they might educate themselves for a successful return to the student body.”
Hutchinson commended Ostdiek for making “difficult decisions, fairly and fearlessly.”
Hutchinson also praised Ostdiek’s implementation of the Consultation and Assessment Team, which is aimed at improving communication between various offices regarding students who might be in distress or pose a risk to the student body. As head of the team, Ostdiek oversees the support and retention program, a key office for students leaving or returning to the university because of medical, family or unusual circumstances.
As associate dean, Ostdiek is responsible for the Rice Counseling Center, the Rice Wellness Center and International Programs. Over the past year, Ostdiek implemented significant improvements to these programs. From rebuilding the staff to reshaping services and responding to a decade’s worth of student challenges, Ostdiek has made a noteworthy impact, Hutchinson said.
Ostdiek also directs and teaches in the popular policy studies major in the School of Social Sciences.
“For many of us in administration at Rice, Don is a key player,” Hutchinson wrote. “Without question, he has made Rice a better place for undergraduate and graduate students alike.”