Renee Gayden – Office Assistant
Renee is generally the first person you will contact in the Office of Student Life. She provides administrative support to the office, offers general information regarding Hardship Withdrawal petitions, Leave of Absence requests and refers students in need of support to Office of Student Life professional staff. Renee joined the Office of Student Life in December 2018. She very much enjoys engaging with students and the entire Western community.
Jessica Stillwell — Case Manager/Conduct Officer
As the Case Manager/Conduct Officer for the Office of Student Life Jessica is responsible for:
- Serving as a resource and liaison for a diverse population of students
- Serving as primary point of contact and liaison for faculty, staff, administrators, students, and family members to receive behavioral or safety concerns regarding students.
- Serving as an active member of the Student Care/Concern Team and assisting in coordinating multi-department response to behavioral or safety concerns involving students.
- Serving as a conduct officer, including administering the Student Conduct Code
- Providing one-on-one advising to students to assist in their understanding institutional policies and processes (including academic grievances, incomplete grade contracts, and general petitions).
- Providing follow up to students evicted from the residence halls
- Providing case management for students experiencing significant difficulties
- Assisting students in navigating University and community services
Jessica has served in the role of Case Manager/Conduct Officer since September 2016. She previously worked at the University of Alaska Anchorage as a Title IX Investigator and at the University of Oregon as a Hearings Officer. Jessica graduated from Saint Martin’s University with a BA in English and from the University Of Oregon School Of Law with a Juris Doctor.
Since beginning her career in Student Affairs, Jessica has participated in a variety of professional development opportunities, including specialized training from the national organizations she is a member of including ASCA, NASPA, and HECMA.
Specifically, Jessica has received the following training:
- Professional Mediation Training – Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center Spring 2019
- A New Understanding of the Autism Spectrum – Association of Student Conduct Administrators (ASCA)- Spring 2018
- Sexual Misconduct Institute –ASCA -Spring 2018
- Navigating Speech on Campus – Lee Bird – Fall 2017
- Sexual Violence Prevention & Response Training – Karen Burke, DVSAS -Fall 2017
- ASCA Ghering Academy- Mary Beth Mackin Foundations of Professional Practice – Summer 2017
- Youth Mental Health First Aid – National Council for Behavioral Health – Summer 2017
- Analyzing Programs and Services with an Inclusive Lens and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues: Navigating Triggering Events – Dr. Kathy Obear – Winter 2017
- Creating Inclusive, Socially Just Campus Environments – Dr. Kathy Obear – Winter 2017
- Facilitating Difficult Dialogues: Responding to Macroaggressions in the classroom and workplace AND Navigating Triggering Events – Dr. Kathy Obear – Winter 2017
- Train the Trainer: Strategies for Facilitating Courageous Conversations on Race – Cultures Connecting Winter 2017
- White Fragility with Robin DiAngelo – Winter 2017
- Trauma Informed Sexual Assault Investigation Training – International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) -Fall 2015
- Civil Rights Investigator Training with ATIXA -Fall 2015
Since joining Western in 2016, Jessica has gotten involved in the campus community by attending campus-wide events and participating as a facilitator in Western’s Community Dialogue Series. Jessica actively collaborates with colleagues across campus to provide student support, including from Prevention Wellness Services, Residence Life, and the Disability Access Center. Jessica also actively participates in the Dean of Students Cultural Competency Series.
Michael Sledge – Associate Dean of Students
As the Assistant Dean of Students, Michael is responsible for:
- Serving as a resource and liaison for students, parents, faculty and staff in assisting students in crisis;
- Facilitating the efforts of the Student Care/Concern Team, a cross-disciplinary group of Western professionals including leadership from Student Health Center, Counseling Center, Residence Life, disAbility Resources of Students, Prevention & Wellness Services & University Police;
- Facilitating the efforts of the Violence/Sexual Violence Consult Team, a cross-disciplinary group of Western professionals including members from CASAS, Equal Opportunity Office, & Residence Life;
- Overseeing the student conduct process at Western including serving as the Dean’s designee in many student conduct appeals, and orienting appeals board members and facilitating appeals board meetings for suspension/expulsion level violations of the Student Conduct Code;
- Supervising the Office of Student Life and serving on the Dean of Student’s leadership team.
Michael began serving in the Office of Student Life in October 2012. Since then, he has worked with the Dean of Students’ Unit’s Cultural Competency work, supervised a Garrett Lee Smith suicide prevention grant, led a full revision of the Student Conduct Code in 2016, and created strong relationships with faculty in working to support students.
Michael is a member of NASPA and ASCA. He has previously worked as the Assistant Director for Residential and Dining Services (2008-2012) at the Evergreen State College, and before that worked at Western in several roles including the University Residences Conduct Officer (2001-2008), Orientation Coordinator in New Student Services/Family Outreach (1999-2001) and Resident Director (1996-1999). Before that, he graduated from the University of Iowa with an MA in Higher Education Administration and a BA in English.
Michael’s professional involvement at Western and elsewhere has included the following:
- Member, Suicide Advisory Committee, winter 2013 – present
- Certified QPR (Question Persuade Refer) Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Instructor, November 2017 – November 2020
- CAS Review for Student Conduct (lead) & Off Campus Living (committee member), 2018
- Coalition for Academic Integrity, fall 2012 – present
- Division Assessment Resource Team, fall 2012 – present
- Emergency Management Committee, fall 2012 – present. Training includes FEMA Emergency Management Institute IS-100, 200, 300, & 800
- Sexual Misconduct Institute, Association for Student Conduct Administration, March 26-28, 2018
- Supporting Survivors/Being Trauma-Informed, Karen Burke, DVSAS, October 2, 2017
- A Trauma-Informed Approach to Working with LGBTQ Survivors of Sexual Violence, Northwest Network training, winter 2016
- Investigation of Sexual Misconduct & Adjudication, & Title IX Overview, D Stafford & Associates, spring 2016
- NaBITA Advanced Violence/Risk Assessment, summer 2016
- ASCA (Association for Student Conduct Administration) Investigator Training, May 7, 2015
- Campus Accountability and Safety Act: Implications for Student Conduct Practice, Association for Student Conduct Administration, April 12, 2015
- Steering Committee Member, Campus Community Coalition, Bellingham-Western Washington University, 2007 – 2009, & 2012 – 2016
- Bellingham-Whatcom County Commission Against Domestic Violence, August 2002 – December 2006 & November 2012 – November 2014
- Washington State Higher Education Conference on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, Council of Presidents, October 30, 2014
- Campus Title IX Investigator Training – NCHERM.ORG, University of Puget Sound, WA July 30-31, 2012
- Co-presenter, Assessing Barriers for Transgender/Gender Non-conforming Students, NASPA Annual Conference, March 12, 2012
Office of Student Life staff regularly review professional ethical guidelines and best practices, and are regularly evaluated through performance reviews.