AUSTIN, Texas—Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Sharon Justice will retire effective Aug. 3 from her position at The University of Texas at Austin, according to Vice President for Student Affairs James W. Vick.
Vick said that during her 24 years at UT Austin in the Office of the Dean of Students, Justice has helped foster the growth and development of students’ lives outside the classroom to complement their achievements in academics. He said Justice will be greatly missed and a nationwide search will begin soon for a new dean of students.
“Sharon has been a superb colleague and friend. We have worked together in difficult times on campus and we have celebrated student successes. We will miss her, but we wish her well in her new endeavors,” said Vick.
He said major accomplishments credited to Justice include the launching and support of several initiatives and programs for underrepresented students in the mainstream of student life, such as students with disabilities and students of color. Justice also was instrumental in working with the Fraternal Commission to conceive the Greek Life and Education area of the DOS; expanding volunteer services to the volunteer center and creating the Dean’s Dozen as a way to recognize student contributions to the campus.
Justice said that after working in the area of student affairs for 30 years as a practitioner, it’s time to move on to the next phase of her life. She plans to have a life more on her own schedule now and to spend more time with her family and friends. She plans to do volunteer work and travel with her husband, Dean, who retired in 1990 as director of the Frank Erwin Center at UT Austin.
Justice said she plans to continue involvement in higher education both at UT Austin and other universities. She is scheduled to teach a graduate class in education administration during the fall 2001 semester, a class she has taught the past three years in addition to performing her administrative duties.
Justice also plans to work as a consultant with other universities regarding student affairs.
Since her arrival on the UT Austin campus in 1976, Justice has worked with the administrations of seven university presidents.
“I’ve often said I have the best job on campus and I do believe it,” said Justice. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with the best and the brightest students through the years.”
“Reflecting on these 24 years, I recall many memories of all the students and staff who have made a difference in my life. From physicians to attorneys, to community activists, to entrepreneurs to politicians, the students who attended the University have left their mark on the Forty Acres and are making a difference in today’s society. I believe that the dean of students’ staff have played a crucial role in the development of not only these individuals, but also to campus life. The dedication, the quality, the professionalism of the staff with whom I have had the privilege to work is second to none,” Justice said.
Justice has worked closely with students during times of jubilation and turmoil. She said she will not miss the long hours of work, the early morning phone calls and the inevitable notification of student tragedies. But she will miss the energy, the vitality and the excitement of the staff, her colleagues and the students she has met throughout the years.
Justice received her bachelor and master’s degrees, as well as her Ph.D., in speech communication from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill. Her career in higher education began in 1966 as an instructor in the speech department at Northern Illinois University at Dekalb. She joined UT Austin as assistant dean of students and coordinator of orientation in 1976. She was promoted to the position of associate dean in 1982 and has served since 1985 as associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students.
Justice has received numerous awards for leadership, mentoring and her work as an educator.
Last year, Justice was selected as a recipient of the John Jones Award for Outstanding Performance as a Dean. The award is presented annually by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Region III to an outstanding senior-level student affairs officer.
For additional information, contact Vice President for Student Affairs James Vick at (512) 471-1133.