Dean of Students shares why FIU cares

By: Kathy Akens, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students

FIU is a great community, with so many resources for students. At a university our size though, it is important that you know many people here care about you and your experience. In the Dean of Students Office, we talk about how “Panthers Care.” It is how we approach our work every day with our FIU Panthers.

College life is both exciting and challenging. You’re here because you are capable of succeeding and reaching your goals to earn a college degree.  

You envision a life that will be better because of the opportunities a college education will provide you. You are ready for this FIU experience and you should embrace all of the opportunities available to you.

Sometimes, though, students will face obstacles along the path toward their academic goals, such as personal distress, anxiety, depression, family emergencies, health issues and more. There are excellent support services on campus to assist students, with the purpose of getting them back on track toward their goals. The Dean of Students Office can assist students individually by identifying the appropriate campus resources to best help them.

The Division of Student Affairs has many departments in place to support students.

We hope you’ve already learned about some of them, including Counseling and Psychological Services, the Victim Empowerment Program, the Disability Resource Center, Residential Life and more. These offices are full of caring professionals who want to help students. You’re never alone on this journey.

It is also not uncommon for peers to be the first person to recognize when a student is in distress.

If you see dramatic changes in a friend’s behavior, if you’re concerned about a fellow student, take it seriously and share your concern with someone who can intervene and assist. The Dean of Students can assist in this situation. Students can share their concerns anonymously on our website.

Feel free to stop by our office or give us a call. We’re located in Graham Center 219. Our office number is (305) 348-2797 or you can visit our website at We are available to meet with a student on any of the campuses.

Have a great semester, and remember…Panthers Care.

The Dean of Students Office, in the Division of Student Affairs, creates a culture of care for students, their families, faculty and staff by providing proactive education consultation, resources, and response to distressed students or students in crisis. The Dean of Students will provide a monthly column in the Beacon, to acquaint students with some of the important campus resources in place to support their success.