By David Karaz
Student Body President
I understand that Drake’s organizational structure can seem confusing if you are not directly involved in its student leadership affairs. Therefore, I have prepared an explanation of how the governance of the university is set up.
Drake is a non-profit business. It’s top authority is a select group of professionals called the Board of Trustees (BOT). Drake’s BOT meets quarterly, and you will see them around campus during Homecoming Weekend and Drake Relays weekend. The BOT appointed President David Maxwell to serve as the symbolic and administrative leader of the university. Along with President Maxwell, Provost Deneese Jones, Vice President of Business and Finance Deborah Newsom, Vice President of Admission and Financial Aid Tom Delahunt, and VP of Alumni and Development John Smith are Drake’s chief administrators. The University Deans can be found under Provost Jones, whom prefers “Dr. Dee.” This group includes each school’s respective dean, and Dean of Students Sentwali Bakari.
Under Dean Bakari and our student life advisors, you will find Drake’s student leadership. The Student Senate, under my leadership, is in charge of allocating the student activity fee, fostering the growth and development of student organizations, and acting as the key student mediator to our faculty, administration, and community. Drake has more than 160 approved student organizations, including the largest campus programming body, Student Activities Board (SAB), which is chaired by Natalie Larson.
On top of Senate, SAB, and Drake’s multitude of organizations, there are five other student leadership bodies presiding over specific student life areas. Pan-Hellenic Council (Panhel) and Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) manage the Greek social sorority and fraternity system. Presidents Kathleen Diedrich and Angel Gentchev respectively chair each governing body. Residence Hall Association (RHA), led by President Whitney Leming-Salisbury, manages residence life issues, such as hall programs and posting policies. President Kiah Swanson chairs the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), which is comprised of representative student athletes. Last, the Student Alumni Association (SAA), under President Doug Brady, engages current students in Drake alumni initiatives.
There is also the Faculty Senate, which is led by politics professor Debra De Laet. These elected faculty leaders are charged with upholding Drake’s academic excellence. In the past three years, they have implemented the January Term (J-Term), changed Drake to the plus-minus scale grading to be implemented in the Fall of 2016, and addressed curriculum items such as experiential learning.
Collectively, these groups and individuals help to make your student experience its very best. Would you like to help?