Dean of Students Mark Bandas to retire May 2021, G. L. Black to succeed

Deputy Dean of Students G. L. Black will serve as his replacement effective May 17.


Mark Bandas. (Photo courtesy Vanderbilt University)

Immanual John Milton, Editor in Chief

Dean of Students and Assosicate Provost Mark Bandas will be retiring his position effective May 2021. Deputy Dean of Students G. L. Black will serve as his replacement effective May 17.

Provost Susan R. Wente sent the Vanderbilt community an email at about 12:20 p.m. CST, announcing Bandas’ retirement.

Bandas, a graduate of Connecticut College (B. A. 1975), finished his Ph.D. in Philosophy at Vanderbilt in 1985. He held faculty and administrative positions at other institutions including the University of Richmond, Truman State University and Tennessee State University. Eventually, he arrived at Vanderbilt in an administrative role in 1994, as an assistant dean of residential and judicial affairs.

In that role, Bandas served on the committee to establish Vanderbilt as a residential college system from 1999 to 2000.

“We live in an era of intense polarization and strategizing aimed at silencing other viewpoints,” Bandas said in an email to The Hustler. “A residential university is a place in which people can learn to live respectfully and even be friends with people with whom they deeply disagree. That transformation is at the heart of our mission and is the deep service we provide to the larger community.”

Bandas began his time as Dean of Students in 2006 and has served in the position for the last 14 years. He oversaw projects including Vanderbilt’s residential college program, established the K.C. Potter Center for LGBTQI Life in 2008, the Project Safe Center for Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response in 2014, the Center for Student Wellbeing in 2016, the Student Center for Social Justice and Identity in 2017 and the Student Care Network and Office of Student Care Coordination in 2018.

“Vanderbilt has been the center of my professional and personal life. I met my wife, Anja, here, and I have enjoyed and learned so much from my student affairs colleagues and friends. They always made even the most challenging work a pleasure. I have found their collegiality, work ethic and deep competence inspiring,” Bandas said in the announcement.

His replacement, G.L. Black, who is currently the Assistant Provost and Deputy Dean of Students, joined the university in 2011. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science and criminology from the University of Florida and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

“I am honored to serve the university, and particularly our students, in this role going forward and am grateful to Provost Wente, Dean Bandas and my Dean of Students colleagues for their support,” Black said. “I will continue to focus on collaborative efforts across the institution and on finding new and innovative ways to engage students to enhance their experience at Vanderbilt and address the complex challenges facing college students today.”