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Welcome From the Dean of Students!

Dear Widener Parent or Guardian,

Welcome! Your child is on an exciting journey as a college student at Widener University. No doubt, you share this sense of excitement. Please know that Widener faculty, administrators and staff are eager to assist you in every way as your child makes the transition to life and learning in our supportive campus community.

Widener offers an education that prepares students to be engaged, civic-minded citizens who can succeed in the global society in which they will live. Living, studying, and collaborating with others who are different than oneself are the most essential building blocks of the multicultural skill set necessary for global citizenship. Our student population reflects the full diversity and challenge of the whole human race. When combined, our students create a great patchwork quilt that together is more beautiful than any single piece.

Dean Gifford

Denise Gifford, EdD

During the college years, a student needs other people to provide support, pay attention, and listen so they can find answers to their own questions. Ultimately, my job as Dean of Students is to make sure undergraduates have all the tools and resources they need to be their best selves, answer those questions, and fully achieve their potential. It is our work to see that everything done in the classroom, in residence halls, in co-curricular programs, in relationships, and in knowledge gained reflects the key components of the Widener experience.

Because we believe college students are young adults learning to be responsible for their own lives, we usually work directly with them. It is not our practice to contact parents or guardians unless the sharing of a problem is necessary to protect the student or others from serious harm, or we need your help with a comprehensive plan to deal with problem behavior. In relation to this, I encourage you and your student to become familiar with the Widener University Undergraduate Student Handbook that outlines the rights and responsibilities and expectations for student conduct.

If your daughter or son has serious and/or frequent violations of handbook regulations, or if your student is reluctant to obtain assistance for problem behaviors, we will share this information with you, usually with your student’s knowledge. In most alcohol-related cases, parents can expect to be notified if their son or daughter has a second or third alcohol-related violation so they can join the university in evaluating the situation. In the case of medical emergencies, parents will be contacted with or without the student’s knowledge.

Remember that there will be virtually unlimited opportunities for engagement and leadership for your son or daughter, so please encourage them to get involved in the life of the community and to reach out for assistance should they need it. We are eager to assist both you and your child in every way as your child makes the transition to life and learning in our supportive campus community.

Denise Gifford, EdD
Associate Provost and Dean of Students