Dean Gene Fitch Selected as New Vice President for Student Affairs

Gene Fitch

Dr. Gene Fitch Jr. will assume the role of vice president for Student Affairs on June 1.

The University of Texas at Dallas has tapped Dr. Gene Fitch Jr., associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, to become vice president for Student Affairs, effective June 1.

Fitch replaces Dr. Darrelene Rachavong, who is retiring after 32 years.

“There is no way I will be able to fill her shoes. All the departments and offices, all the school traditions, all those things are her legacy,” Fitch said.

“I’m fortunate the president has put his confidence in me. This is what I’ve been training to do throughout my professional career. I’m looking forward to continuing to impact students in significant ways.”

Fitch, who has been associate vice president for Student Affairs since 2014 and dean of students since 2010, will now report directly to UT Dallas President David E. Daniel as a member of the Cabinet. A national search is underway for a new dean of students.

Daniel described Fitch as a “student-focused leader” who will effectively succeed Rachavong in managing the overall needs of students in an expanding University.

“Dr. Rachavong leaves a legacy of exceptional leadership and advancement within Student Affairs that has benefited our students and our University. Dr. Fitch is well-prepared to step into this key leadership position and to ensure that Student Affairs continues to meet the needs of our rapidly growing student body,” Daniel said.

Dr. Fitch is well-prepared to step into this key leadership position and to ensure that Student Affairs continues to meet the needs of our rapidly growing student body,

Dr. David E. Daniel,
UT Dallas president

In his new role as vice president, Fitch said he will focus on growing the on-campus population by adding student housing, boosting student participation at athletics events, collaborating with faculty to build stronger partnerships that will enhance student development, and hiring an assessment director to identify and evaluate student learning outcomes within the division of Student Affairs.

In Fitch’s role as dean of students, he managed about 50 people in eight units. Now he will have oversight of more than 200 people and double the number of units. Student Affairs staff are housed primarily in the Student Services Building (SSB), but also have offices in the Student Union, McDermott Library and the clubhouse of the Phase I apartments. Construction of an addition to the SSB will begin this summer.

Fitch assumed responsibility last April for the Student Counseling Center, the new Center for Students in Recovery and New Student Programs — which includes Freshman Orientation — Comet Families, Transition Programs, Office of Student Volunteerism and the Veteran Services Center.

As dean of students, Fitch also managed student conduct and conflict resolution, formation and interpretation of University policies, Student AccessAbility, Fraternity and Sorority Life, the Student Union and Activities Advisory Board, Comet Spirit Programs, Student Government, Student Media and the Student Organization Center.

In addition, he coordinated Student Affairs’ crisis and critical incident management, including the Behavior Assessment and Intervention Team (BAIT). 

Fitch came to UT Dallas from Middle Tennessee State University, the largest undergraduate university in Tennessee. He previously was an administrator at the University of Arkansas, and has more than 25 years’ administrative, leadership and program planning experience.

Fitch holds an EdD from the University of Arkansas, and a master's in education and a bachelor’s degree from Arkansas Tech University. He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].