TiRease Holmes, MBA ’16, wants to turn her title into action.
“I want to be the students’ Dean,” she said.
Holmes is La Salle University’s new Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President of Student Development and Campus Life, effective July 18. Previously La Salle’s Director of Residence Life, Holmes brings more than 20 years of experience in progressive student affairs roles at public and private four-year colleges and universities, along with over 11 years of institutional knowledge at La Salle to her new position.
A Philadelphia native, Holmes stays active in her community. She serves as the co-chairperson of the Police District Advisory Council and is also an elected Committee Person in the 17th Ward. She is a board member for both Qara Hope Ministries and Community Academy of Philadelphia charter school, as well. Holmes continues to be an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc., too.
“I just want students to know that I am someone that is a resource to them and always available.”
In her new role at La Salle, Holmes said she will strive to be accessible to students to make sure their experience at the university is the best it can be and provide a safe space for students to bring their whole selves.
“I just want students to know that I am someone that is a resource to them and always available,” she said.
Here are other fast facts about La Salle’s new Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President of Student Development and Campus Life:
Holmes attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. When she first entered college, she thought she’d go into pre-med. However, she quickly learned that career path wasn’t for her.
A mentor at IUP suggested she consider a role in student affairs in higher education. After connecting Holmes with a placement program on campus, everything fell into place.
When speaking with La Salle students, Holmes calls back to the lessons she learned in her undergraduate years.
“One lesson is perspective,” she said. “When you first step on campus it all feels big and scary, but as you’re there for a while, (campus) you realize that every experience has actually helped you grow and develop into the space. The moments and experiences created along with the relationships fostered with friends, club/organization members, mentors, faculty, and staff have helped you to navigate the place and make you feel like a part of tight knit community. Eventually your perspective starts to change, and your point of view pivots. What once felt big and scary, now feels safe and like home. That’s what really helps to motivate students.”
In her new position, Holmes wants to play a pivotal role between the University and its students.
“I’ve been thinking about my role and how I position myself to have the best outcomes for our students,” Holmes said. “My job description calls for me to serve as the chief student advocate. That resonated with me, that this is my focal point. For me, that means I need to get out from behind my desk and meet students where they are. I see myself as this needle and thread; how do I interweave throughout the different aspects of our campus community to best provide support to our students? I’m really thinking about the interweaving piece of the resources and then I’m also thinking about being where the students are, hearing from them, and creating a space and place for them at the table so that they can propel their voices.”
“Communication is a big key piece for students—not only speaking to one another, but speaking up and out to make sure that we “Together and by Association” are providing the students with what they need,” Holmes said. “If you get involved, you’ll feel like you belong. If you belong, you’re invested, and you want to be here. You persist and you succeed.”
Campus involvement in activities is key for student success, said Holmes, who listed a few favorites that came to mind: Yoga with goats, intramural leagues, work-study jobs, the Resident Student Association, and the Commuter and Off-Campus Student Association.
When not on La Salle’s campus, Holmes loves spending time with her family and having fun in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.
“I am a very family-oriented person,” she said. “I have a ton of nieces and nephews who I love to spend time with and spoil. For fun, I love karaoke. Even though I’m a picky eater, I love to eat and I love trying new restaurants. I also really love to travel and I love dancing.”