Clayton Arrington, M.A.
Student Engagement and Leadership
Clayton Arrington is the Senior Director for Student Engagement and Leadership. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in Biology and Chemistry in 1998 and completed his M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs in 2001 from The Ohio State University. Clayton started at Vanderbilt in 2001 in the Office of Greek Life. He now has administrative oversight for the offices of Arts and Campus Events, Greek Life, Student Centers, Student Leadership Development, Student Center for Social Justice & Identity, and Student Organizations & Governance.
Clayton takes great pride in working closely with students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader Nashville community to enhance and transform the experience for all who come in contact with Vanderbilt. He’s worked on a number of major initiatives during his time at Vanderbilt, including the current West End Neighborhood project and Vanderbilt’s extracurricular parallel to Opportunity Vanderbilt, Experience Vanderbilt. These projects demonstrate Clayton’s commitment to a more inclusive, welcoming campus that provides every student with the opportunity to explore all aspects of campus life. His interests outside of work include sports, travel and spending time with his family.
Mark Bandas, Ph.D.
Associate Provost and Dean of Students
Mark Bandas is associate provost and dean of students. He graduated from Connecticut College, Magna Cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with a B.A. in philosophy. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt.
Dean Bandas has administrative oversight for the offices of Housing and Residential Education, Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, Student Centers, Greek Life, Student Organizations, Campus Events, International Student and Scholar Services, Leadership Development and Multicultural Affairs, The KC Potter Center, Active Citizenship and Service, Arts and Creative Engagement, Health and Wellness, Student Health & Wellness, and Conference services. He also serves as a lecturer in philosophy for the College of Arts and Science and as a lecturer in higher education administration for the Peabody College of Education and Human Development.
He has held faculty and administrative positions at a number of institutions including the University of Richmond, Truman State University and Tennessee State University. Since 1999, Dean Bandas has assisted in the planning and implementation of the College Halls program at Vanderbilt. The initial phase of the College Hall program, the first year student Commons, opened in the fall of 2008. His teaching and research interests include learning communities, American philosophy, philosophy of education, and philosophy of religion.
G.L. Black, J.D., M.Ed.
Assistant Provost and Deputy Dean of Students
G.L. Black is an Assistant Provost and the Deputy Dean of Students. G.L. oversees the operations of the Student Care Network, including the Center for Student Wellbeing, the Office of Student Care Coordination, and the University Counseling Center; the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity; the Project Safe Center for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response; and the Student Engagement and Leadership offices, including Arts and Campus Events, Greek Life, Student Centers, Student Leadership Development, Student Organizations and Governance, and the Student Center for Social Justice and Identity. He is the Chair of the Campus Assessment, Response, and Evaluation (CARE) Team and Welfare Panel to support students of concern. G.L. also coordinates the University’s Honor System and appellate processes for students and student organizations, and oversees student and student organization compliance with mandatory programs and activities, including the Protection of Minors policy. G.L. is a primary drafter of University policies and community standards for students and student organizations, and trains faculty, staff, students, and student organizations on a variety of policy, compliance, and health and wellness issues.
G.L. received his B.A. from the University of Florida, his J.D. from Harvard Law School, and his M.Ed. from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. G.L. began his career as a litigator at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York with a focus on criminal defense and investigations, labor and employment, and antitrust work, and also practiced at Shutts & Bowen LLP in Florida prior to coming to Vanderbilt. At Vanderbilt, he has worked as an Instructor in Law in the Legal Research and Writing Program at Vanderbilt Law School, as the Associate Director of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, and as an Assistant Dean of Students and the Director of the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity. More recently, he served as Associate Dean of Students for Community Standards and Student Support.
Elizabeth Boyd, M.Ed.
Dean of Students
Elizabeth joined the Office of the Dean of Students as a Project Manager in May 2019. She is responsible for managing large-scale initiatives and processes for the division, including strategic planning for the Student Care Network, the implementation of the Student Health Insurance Plan, and data collection and reporting for SACS accreditation. Elizabeth was previously the Project Manager for the Vice Provost for Learning and Residential Affairs at Vanderbilt. She earned her B.A. in English from the University of Virginia, her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development, and is also currently working on her Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Peabody College.
Ashley Brown, M.A.
Student Center for Social Justice and Identity
Ashley Brown, who has strong experience in social justice education and student engagement, became the director for the Student Center for Social Justice and Identity in January 2021. Ashley’s responsibilities will include developing and executing strategic initiatives, programming and support for Vanderbilt’s multicultural, international and under-represented student leaders and organizations.
Ashley comes to Vanderbilt from Georgia State University, where she served as the assistant director for equity, diversity and inclusion for university housing for three years. She holds a master of arts from Bowling Green State University and is a doctoral candidate in education, specializing in student affairs leadership, scheduled to graduate in May 2021 from the University of Georgia.
Lisa Clapper, M.S.W.
Student Care Coordination
Lisa Clapper helped establish the Office of Student Care Coordination at Vanderbilt University. She earned her Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from Butler University. Lisa is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Case Manager. She brings several years of experience coordinating medical and mental health care for different populations, along with knowledge of health insurance, and well-being coaching. Lisa values the importance of proactively identifying challenges, barriers, and goals and working collaboratively with students to coordinate the best possible care to address their needs. Her approach to working with students is strengths-based, seeking to understand and develop the strengths and capabilities our students already possess in a way that empowers them to take a positive lead in their own care. Outside of work, Lisa enjoys spending time with her husband and cat, reading as much as she can, and ticking more boxes on her bucket list.
Mary Helen Davidson, M.Ed.
Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity
Mary Helen has worked in the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity since January 2012 in a variety of capacities. Originally from Texarkana, Arkansas, Mary Helen earned her B.A. from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and worked for four years in marketing before earning her M.Ed. in higher education administration from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. During her time at Peabody, she worked closely with the Peabody Honor Council, Peabody Graduate Admissions and the Peabody Career Development Center. Mary Helen loves spending time with her family and exploring Nashville.
Dwayne Elliott, M.A.
Arts & Campus Events
Dwayne has been working as an event planner in higher education for almost twenty years. Dwayne currently serves as Director of Arts & Campus Events. In this position, Elliott advises the Vanderbilt Programming Board and serves as the liaison for Vanderbilt Athletics for the Office of the Dean of Students. During his tenure, he has increased student involvement and ticket sales for both the homecoming Commodore Quake concert and the Rites of Spring Music Festival. He also produced the very first ever back to back sold out Commodore Quake shows in Vanderbilt history and sold out the very first Rites of Spring Music Festival in its 30 plus year history.
Dwayne earned his Master’s degree in College Student Development with a concentration in College Counseling from Appalachian State University and his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Appalachian State University. Dwayne is originally from Morganton, NC. Dwayne loves spending time with his wife Shellian and daughter Amya and in his spare time he enjoys playing golf and attending concerts.
Rachel Eskridge, M.Ed.
Center for Student Wellbeing
Rachel Eskridge is the Director of the Center for Student Wellbeing in the Office of the Dean of Students at Vanderbilt University. Previously, she worked for three years as the Outreach, Prevention, and Education Coordinator at the Vanderbilt Psychological and Counseling Center creating relationships, partnerships and programming across campus. She works specifically in the areas of substance use prevention, suicide prevention, stress management, faculty and staff training, and providing support for students of concern. Rachel is a “Double ‘Dore” having received her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt in 2001 and her Master’s degree from Vanderbilt in 2007.
Jim Kramka, M.A.
Jim Kramka is the Senior Director of Housing Operations at Vanderbilt University. Jim’s areas of responsibility include Housing Facilities, Housing Assignments, and the Office of Conferences. Since 2010, he has been heavily engaged in the Residential College initiatives that resulted in Warren, Moore, and E. Bronson Ingram colleges. Currently involved in the design and construction of residential colleges A, B, and C, Jim advocates for students’ values in the design of spaces and selection of materials and furnishings.
Jim’s association with Vanderbilt dates to 1979, the year he began graduate study here. His first campus job was in Sarratt Student Center at the Overcup Oak pub starting in the summer of 1980. Since 1988, Jim has served in various positions at Vanderbilt, including assistant director of the Sarratt Student Center, manager of the Office of Traffic and Parking, and director of Housing Assignments.
Jim earned his B.A. from St. Olaf College in the areas of philosophy and theology. He earned his M.A. in philosophy from Vanderbilt. Outside of Vanderbilt, his interests include backpacking, road bicycling, and audio. He still spins vinyl.
Lauren Kysar, CPA
Chief Business Officer
Dean of Students
Lauren Kysar is the Director of Finance and Chief Business Officer for the Dean of Students (DOS). She is responsible for the financial management of DOS, including fiscal planning, business operations, annual budgets, and day to day financial and administrative operations.
Lauren has over 16 years of combined public and private accounting experience, and has worked with Vanderbilt University for 11 years. Lauren is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in Tennessee. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from DePaul University in Chicago. Prior to joining Vanderbilt University, Lauren worked as a senior accountant for a publicly traded company responsible for the consolidation and reconciliation of the multiple divisions, and served as an accountant at a CPA firm with a focus on tax and auditing. Lauren loves living in Nashville with her husband, son, chickens and bees.
Alison Matarese has served in the Office of Housing Assignments since 2012. As Director of Housing Assignments, she is responsible for all aspects of occupancy management including housing assignment processes, billing, and policy development. Prior to her work in housing assignments, Alison began her professional career in higher education as an Area Coordinator on the Martha Rivers Ingram Commons from 2009-2012.
Originally from East Greenwich, Rhode Island, Alison earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her Master of Education in Educational and Counseling Psychology with a focus in College Student Personnel from the University of Louisville. In her free time, Alison enjoys working out, cheering on her beloved New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox, renovating her fixer upper, and spending time with her spouse, golden retrievers and cats.
Traci R. Ray
Traci R. Ray has over 20 years of experience in the field of Higher Education and been at Vanderbilt since 2006; she is responsible for the internal operations and vision implementation of Residential Experience including supervision of professional and graduate staff, their operational functions, programmatic efforts and community development. She also has oversight for residential third party security, staffing, training, and the growth and development of Upper Class Living Learning Communities.
She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology and in Higher Education Administration all from Oklahoma State University. Her educational journey continues as she works to complete her doctorate in Higher Education Leadership at the University of Miami through an intensive executive model program. Ms. Ray brings with her several experiences from previous universities. Her interest and introduction into Student Affairs began and evolved at her alma mater, Oklahoma State University, where she worked in Residence Life, Athletics, Campus Activities and Greek Life. Next, she worked at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in the Housing Department and Admissions Office. Prior to Vanderbilt, she worked in Student Activities and Greek Life at Southern Methodist University. Traci’s major interest involve advocating for students as they manage college and transition into the world.
She is a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the American College Personnel Association and has presented on various topics related to the student experience at such conferences as the Residential College Symposium and the Association for College and University Housing Officers. When not working, Traci loves traveling, karaoke, shopping with girlfriends and enjoying the Nashville scene. Although Traci resides in Nashville, her family including her four beautiful nieces, live in Oklahoma and Florida.
Student Organizations and Governance
DeAnte’ Smith is the Director of Student Organizations and Governance. He has been with Vanderbilt since August 2017. Prior to Vanderbilt, DeAnte’ served as the Director of Greek Life at Southeast Missouri State University and Assistant Director of Student Engagement at the University of North Alabama. He received his bachelor degree in Information Technology and Communication in 2001 and his Masters in Higher Education in 2009 from the University of Southern Mississippi.
DeAnte’ has a passion for student engagement, student development, and working with student organizations. He has been a presenter at multiple conferences that have a focus on supporting student organizations on college campuses. He is committed to developing students and building relationships at Vanderbilt.
Randy Tarkington is the Senior Director of Residential Experience at Vanderbilt University. As Senior Director of Residential Experience, Randy is responsible for a department with 15 full time professional staff members, 3 receptionist/clerical, 10, Graduate Assistants, 161 Head Residents and Resident Advisors, and around 35 Front Desk and Student Assistants. Randy worked at Vanderbilt as an Assistant Director from 1988 to 1993 working his last three years in Kissam Quadrangle. After leaving Vanderbilt, he worked for 12 years in the California State University system and lived in the San Francisco Bay Area before returning home in 2006 to be closer to family. He returned to Vanderbilt in 2007, first as Director of Conferences and then to his current Senior Director position.
He lives in East Nashville where he has deemed himself as the “unofficial mayor.” He also writes a weekly work life balance blog which highlights the many things to do in the Nashville area each week and has also presented nationally on creating work life balance for higher educational live in professionals. He loves exploring Nashville and the mid-state area to find new places to highlight. Among his favorites are Margot’s Café, Wonders on Woodland Antique Store, concerts at the Ryman Auditorium, and numerous coffee shops across town.
Anna Thomas, Ed.D.
Dean of Students
Anna is the Assistant Director for Training and Communications. In her current role, she oversees professional development and training for the staff in the Dean of Students division, manages division-wide strategic communications, and leads the Graduate Assistantship program. Anna has worked at Vanderbilt for over 10 years, previously serving as Director of Parents and Family Programs. She is a Gallup certified Clifton Strengths coach who has delivered trainings and workshops for Vanderbilt students, faculty, and staff. Anna has an Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership and Policy and M.Ed. in Human Development Counseling, both from Peabody College at Vanderbilt. She recieved a B.A. in Psychology from Emory University. Anna is a faculty VUceptor and Posse mentor. In her free time, she enjoys doing yoga, reading, cooking, and playing with her 3 children.
Ashley Thompson, M.Acc.
Chief Business Officer
Housing & Residential Experience
Ashley Thompson is the Director of Finance and Chief Business Officer for the Office of Housing and Residential Experience (OHARE). Ashley graduated from Auburn University with a BS in Accounting. She earned her Master of Accountancy from the University of Tennessee and is a Certified Public Accountant. Prior to her position with the Dean of Students, Ashley was a senior financial auditor with Deloitte and the Vanderbilt Office of Internal Audit.
Ashley is responsible for OHARE financial management including oversight of the annual operating and capital budgets as well as the day-to-day financial operations of the University’s residential system and the Office of Conferences.
Kristin Torrey, M.A.
Kristin has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Western Michigan University, where she double majored in marketing and organizational communication. Upon graduation, she decided to pursue a career in student affairs and earned her masters of arts in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University. She has worked in the Office of Greek Life at Vanderbilt since August 2002, serving as the Director of Greek Life for the last thirteen years. Outside of her work at Vanderbilt, Kristin serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Foundation and in the Junior League of Nashville.
Cara Tuttle Bell, J.D., M.A.
Project Safe Center
Cara Tuttle Bell has served as Director of the Project Safe Center since its founding in 2014. Cara previously served as the Associate Director for Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity at Vanderbilt University and as Director of Programs for the Women’s Center at Northwestern University. Cara holds a JD from Vanderbilt University Law School, Master of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Louisville, and her Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Ball State University, where she graduated summa cum laude. Cara was selected as the 2015 recipient of the Mary Jane Werthan Award, which is presented to a member of the Vanderbilt community who has contributed to the advancement of women at Vanderbilt on a systemic level. In 2016, Cara received the K.C. Potter Outstanding Service to Students Award from the Office of the Dean of Students. Cara serves as a lecturer in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program in the College of Arts and Science. Cara provides institutional advocacy on aspects of University response systems and processes involving sexual harassment and violence and currently serves as co-chair of the University’s Staff Steering Committee for Women’s Initiatives.
Linda Welch serves as the Director of Conferences at Vanderbilt University. Linda first started her career at Vanderbilt back in 1987, serving as an Assistant Director of Residential and Judicial Affairs, under the tutelage of Dean KC Potter and Dean Steven Caldwell. Linda boasts about having the best job on campus, allowing her to work closely with distinguished faculty members, remarkable students and hardworking colleagues – planning and executing events on the Vanderbilt campus. Her continuous goal is to create a seamless conference operation by building a team of committed, dedicated colleagues from all around campus, working together to ensure our guests receive a variety of healthy enjoyable meals, are provided with clean, attractive safe accommodations, and meet in conveniently located, clean, state of the art meeting spaces.
Linda is a Certified Collegiate Event Program Planner (CCEP) and is proud to have the Vanderbilt’s conference operation acknowledged as a certified One-Stop-Shop, certified by theAssociation of Collegiate Conference and Event Directors-International (ACCED-I). The certification is achieved by providing the best experience possible for all conference guests by offering comprehensive event management services, logistical support and exemplary customer service to all our guests. Linda is originally from Wisconsin, where she graduated from the University of Wisconsin. In her spare time she enjoys initiating small home renovation projects in her cute little bungalow and working in her yard.
Todd Weinman, Psy.D.
University Counseling Center
Dr. Weinman is the inaugural Director of Vanderbilt’s University Counseling Center (UCC). He is dedicated to creating a safe, welcoming environment for all students who attend Vanderbilt University. He is strongly committed to social justice and to breaking down barriers for seeking help, especially for those students who may otherwise be hesitant to seek professional support or who are experiencing oppression or marginalization related to their unique identities. In addition to extensive experience working directly with college students in a clinical capacity, Dr. Weinman has over 20 years in counseling center administration and leadership.
Todd received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Widener University. Prior to coming to Vanderbilt, he worked as the Director of Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Vermont and previously held leadership positions at Montclair State University and SUNY at Buffalo. Todd’s professional and clinical interests include: leadership and management in college health; training and supervision, diversity and social justice; brief counseling approaches; male identity and healthy masculinity; and Positive Psychology. In his free time Dr. Weinman enjoys playing and watching any and all sports, traveling to places near and far, and exploring Nashville’s incredible food and music scene.