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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Meet the Dean: Maggie Balch is Ready to Advocate for Students at Westfield State

Image Courtesy of Westfield State
Image Courtesy of Westfield State

Dean of Students Maggie Balch is already making an impact after just one year at Westfield State.

Many students might not know the new Dean, as she started working here in the summer of 2020. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, few students were on campus, and there wasn’t much time for interacting with the Westfield community. 

“It was hard last year to not have a lot of students around,” she says. “It’s hard to be a Dean when your constituents aren’t here.”

But that hasn’t stopped her from doing her job. Balch explains that her main duty as the Dean of Students is to work with academic affairs and the rest of the institution to create a seamless learning environment. 

“Basically, a Dean of Students on any college campus is kind of like the voice for the students, the link between students and upper administration,” Balch says.

She explains that she tries to think like a student in order to advocate for them.

As the Dean, Balch is a part of the office of Student Affairs and works closely with the offices of Student Conduct, Student Activities, Residence Life, and the Career Center.

Image courtesy of Westfield State University

Balch has been in the northeast most of her life. She is originally from Pennsylvania and received her undergraduate degree in elementary education at Penn State (though she is, unfortunately, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan). 

She then went on to receive a Master’s degree in higher education administration at UConn. 

She then did a small stint in the midwest working in residence life in St. Louis, Missouri. Most recently, she was the Dean of Student Affairs at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Balch says that her favorite part of her job is most definitely the students.

“As a student body, I find you collectively to be interested in other students and interested in the institution,” she says, “It seems like there are a lot of students who really like it here and are really excited to be here and are excited to get involved in things”

She also says she likes to have more informal interactions with students, including something as simple as walking across campus and stopping to talk for a few minutes. 

One of Balch’s goals for this year is to meet and interact with more students. One way she plans to do this is with a “Dinner With the Dean” project. Once or twice a week, she plans to invite a few students to dinner to discuss their questions and concerns.

Her main goal with this, she adds, is to make each student’s overall experience better at Westfield State. 

Dean Balch is excited to meet as many students as she can to give everyone the best experience possible. She encourages students to stop by her office in Ely 209 and say hello when they get a chance.

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