Office of the Vice Provost

Student Affairs Leadership Team

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Mary Pat McMahon, Vice Provost/Vice President of Student Affairs
101 Bryan Center
125 Science Drive
Box 90937
Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: 919-684-3737
Fax: 919-681-7873
studentaffairs@duke.edu

Mary Pat McMahon is the vice provost and vice president of student affairs. As the chief student affairs officer at Duke, McMahon is directly involved in decisions that shape the undergraduate and graduate student experience, including responsibility for residential and dining services, student wellness services, specialized services for parents/families and student veterans, as well as other student-directed services such as student extracurricular support and the university’s identity and cultural centers. McMahon is a proven leader in student affairs, and is committed to student development, team leadership and building strong community, academic and student partnerships.

Before coming to Duke in July 2019, McMahon was dean of student affairs at Tufts University’s Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering. There, she was broadly responsible for fostering meaningful growth and connection in students’ co-curricular experience, coordinating developmental, leadership and health and safety resources for students.

Prior to Tufts, McMahon served as associate dean of student affairs at Bowdoin College, where she helped develop a highly regarded residential learning program, oversaw the first-year experience, provided academic and personal advising to students and offered guidance for the judicial and sexual misconduct board hearing processes. 

Previously, McMahon was associate director of doctoral programs at New York University and assistant director of undergraduate admissions at Yale University. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in history from Yale University and a master of science degree in history of international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

 

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John Blackshear, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students
101 Bryan Center
125 Science Drive
Box 90959
Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: 919-668-3853

John Blackshear was named dean of students in Student Affairs in June, 2020. He will continue to hold the post of associate vice provost of undergraduate education. In that role, he helps coordinate shared priorities between Student Affairs, the university’s academic deans and the Office of Undergraduate Education

Blackshear previously was dean of academic affairs for Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, as well as senior associate dean of academic planning in Trinity College. Since 2001, he has served a wide range of essential support roles for students at Duke, including academic dean, supervising Duke’s low-income and first-generation scholarship and success programs, serving as clinical director of the Academic Resource Center, and working with Duke’s Office of Student Returns and Student Disabilities Access Office. He was Duke’s student ombudsperson from 2007-2015. Backshear also previously worked in Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) from 2001-2007.

A clinical psychologist by training, Blackshear holds his doctorate in clinical psychology from Georgia State University, and a masters in community/clinical psychology as well as a B.S. in psychology from Florida A&M University. Blackshear has served as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke since 2009, and will continue teaching.

Blackshear also serves as the Faculty-In-Residence (FIR) in Trinity Residence Hall. The Blackshear family--including wife Kimberly Blackshear, Director of the Duke University's Time Away Office, and their six children--have opened their home to first-year students in Trinity and Giles residence halls since 2016.

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Shruti Desai, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, Campus Life
101 Bryan Center
125 Science Drive
Box 90937
Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: 919-684-3737
Fax: 919-681-7873
studentaffairs@duke.edu

Shruti Desai (she, her, hers) currently serves as the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs for Campus Life at Duke University where she leads a dynamic team committed to identity consciousness through programming and storytelling, leadership, fraternity and sorority life, professional development, and marketing and communications. Prior to that, she served as the Chief of Staff for the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to her role at WashU she served Assistant Vice President at McKendree University in Lebanon, IL where she oversaw Title IX, Counseling Services, and Residential Life. Shruti held professional roles in Residence Life at Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Kansas, and Texas Tech University.
   
Shruti has served as adjunct faculty at the George R. Warren Brown School of Social Work and Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis and the co-chair elect of NASPA’s Asian Pacific Islander Knowledge Community. Most recently, she co-authored Identity-Conscious Supervision in Student Affairs: Building Relationship & Transforming Institutions, which was published by Routledge.
   
Shruti’s research examines resilience in women of color in Senior Student Affairs Officer roles. Shruti has worked to lead systemic change for LGBT and individuals of color for students and professional staff. Shruti presents regionally and nationally on identity conscious supervision, creating supportive cultures for marginalized identities, building a culture of assessment, and resilience. Shruti is an alumnus of the Social Justice Training Institute (SJTI) as well as a past faculty and intern with SJTI. Her passion lies around getting beyond the false binary of race in America, examining identity as intersections of power and privilege and data as storytelling.

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Chris Rossi, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs for Strategic Engagement
Bryan Center
125 Science Drive, 101 Bryan Center
Box 90959
Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: 919-684-3737
christopher.rossi@duke.edu

Chris Rossi joined Duke in summer 2020 from Tufts University, where he was most recently Dean of Student Life and Engagement. In that role, he supervised the Dean of Student Affairs Office, Campus Life, Residential Life and Learning, and all budgets and resources associated with the Division of Student Affairs, including health and counseling, identity and cultural centers, residential facilities, accessibility services, and the career center. He holds a master’s degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and a BA from Bowdoin College. 

With experience as an early member of the development team at HBX, Harvard Business School's online learning arm, Chris’s experience in online program development has proven instrumental to our division and to Duke as we develop online curriculum and programs for the 2020-21 academic year. Due to the extent to which all of our division’s strategic goals hinge on a collaborative and nimble residential program, he works especially closely with Assistant VP Joe Gonzalez. Directly supervising Strategic Initiatives, Data Assessment, and the division’s technology support, Chris partners with Associate Vice President Caroline Nisbet and managers across the division to identify and align resources that support the five key norms of the Division of Student Affairs: student health, wellness and safety; meaningful inclusion moving towards equity; professionalism and mutual respect; continuous growth and skill development of staff and students; and strategic collaboration within and beyond the division. 

Chris and his wife, CJ, a middle school science teacher, have two rescue dogs and they are excited to explore North Carolina’s mountains and forests. 

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Gregory Victory, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Fannie Mitchell Executive Director, Duke Career Center
Bay 5, 2nd Floor, Smith Warehouse,
114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Box 90950
Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: 919 660-1050
gregory.victory@duke.edu

Greg came to Duke during the famed summer of 2020 from Tufts University, where he served Executive Director of the Career Center since 2016. Greg has experience developing innovative and enduring partnerships between the career team and other campus partners, including Alumni Affairs, the First-Generation Center, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, and Athletics. He successfully developed and launched a “Designing Your Life” course for first-year students and oversaw the creation of numerous career and student-alumni global networking events. He is focused on outreach to employers and alumni across a wide range of industries and nonprofit sectors and works to ensure that all students see themselves and their pathways represented in Career Center programs and initiatives. 

In his 25-year career, Greg served as Executive Director of Continuing Education at Rhode Island School of Design, where he was previously Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Director of the RISD Career Center. During nearly a decade at Syracuse University, Greg taught in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, led the highly regarded First-Year and Transfer Programs office, and served as a lead with employer engagement in the Syracuse Career Center. Greg has also held positions at Colgate University and Ithaca College and taught junior high school social studies. He serves on the Board of Regents at his alma mater, Le Moyne College.

One of Greg’s favorite jobs was serving as “Scooch,” mascot for the Syracuse Mets (formerly the Syracuse Chiefs), a AAA baseball club—the same level as the Durham Bulls. That position allowed him to “be as goofy as I wanted to be, to bring joy, laughter and excitement to fans,” he said. “It offers a glimpse of my spirit, energy and enthusiasm.”

In his free-time he enjoys traveling, food (cooking and exploring new restaurants), and spending time with his partner David and puppy Faya.  Greg is also a huge college sports fan and is excited to cheer on the Blue Devils.

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Joe Gonzalez, Student Affairs Pandemic Response Coordinator
Bryan Center
125 Science Drive, 101 Bryan Center
Box 90959
Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: 919-684-3737
Fax: 919-681-7873
joe.gonzalez@duke.edu

Joe is responsible for creating a residential experience that supports the academic success of our students and is characterized by strong community, faculty engagement, intellectual discourse, and student wellness. This involves providing leadership and guidance for a team of over 170 student leaders and 16 full time staff members. Additionally, numerous collaborations with offices throughout the institution are utilized to offer our students the most exceptional residential experience possible from both a facility and educational standpoint. He has a B.S. in Secondary Education from the University of Kansas and an M.A. in Student Development from Appalachian State University. He enjoys playing tennis, reading, and vacationing at the beach.

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Robert Coffey, Executive Director of Dining Services
919-660-3900
dining@duke.edu

Robert joined Duke University/Duke Dining in 2012 and oversaw major program transformations and renovations. Duke Dining has received numerous national awards and is recognized as one of the most innovative, dynamic, and cutting-edge collegiate dining programs in the country. Duke Dining is a self-operated dining program with over 50 dining locations that include 34 on-campus locations, Merchants-on-Points (MOPs-off-campus restaurants that deliver), and food trucks. A community-driven, sustainable, award-winning program, Duke Dining provides opportunities for culinary education and engagement with access to cooking classes, chef demos, nutrition and wellness events and special themed dinners throughout the academic year. Our goal is to provide a fresh-thinking, world-class experience, while nourishing the bodies and minds of the Duke community so they are prepared to reach their highest potential.
   
Robert has held Director positions at multiple universities on the East Coast including:
   • University of South Carolina
   • Virginia Tech University
   • Greensboro College
   • UNC Greensboro
   
When not at work Robert enjoys spending time outdoors with his grill, yard chores and exercising.

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Deb LoBiondo, Dean for Residence Life
D104, House D, Craven Quad
440 Chapel Drive
Durham, NC 27708
Phone: 919-684-5486
Fax: 919-681-8453
dab@duke.edu

Dean Deb oversees Housing and Residence Life, including both professional and student residential staff, Housing Assignments, our first-year and upperclass campus offices, as well as our connections to many residentially based academic programs. She has a B.A. in Health Education from Montclair State University and an M.Ed. in Higher Education with an emphasis in Counseling from the University of Georgia. Deb has a passion for equity and inclusion work and most recently was part of two research efforts; "The Duke Social Relationships Project" (DSRP)and the "You @ Duke" Resilience study. She helped create the residentially based Sophomore Year Experience (SYE) at Duke as a result of the data derived from the DSRP.

Deb is proud to be a first-generation college student, born to an immigrant who arrived to the US from Sicily in 1948. She enjoys being with family, gardening, woodworking, jewelry making, watching movies, traveling, and just relaxing with good friends and a bottle of wine.