The national search for new leadership to oversee Student Experience has resulted in the appointment of two highly experienced, dynamic and innovative individuals who will work as a team to guide the division in building a best-in-class, outside-of-the-classroom experience. Chancellor Kent Syverud has appointed Allen W. Groves as senior vice president, Student Experience, and Cerri A. Banks ’00, G’04, G’06, vice president, Student Success, and deputy to the senior vice president. Both appointments were approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. Groves and Banks will start on July 1.
“I credit Syracuse University with changing the trajectory of my life,” says Banks. “To be able to return to an institution and create the type of experience that I had for other students is an honor I had not expected in my career. Today’s students are smart and savvy, but the challenges they face are demanding greater resources in dealing with mental and emotional health needs, and issues related to race, gender and sexuality. It’s our job to support, empower and prepare them to be successful—professionally and personally.”
Banks has been Skidmore College’s dean of students and vice president for student affairs for nearly five years, overseeing all student services, serving on the president’s cabinet and overseeing the bias response group and the COVID-19 campus planning and response. She served in a similar position at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, from 2011 to 2016, and at William Smith College in Geneva, New York, from 2009 to 2011, where she was also director of the President’s Commission on Inclusive Excellence.
Banks’ undergraduate degree from Syracuse University was in inclusive elementary and special education (2000). She earned an M.S. in cultural foundations of education in 2004, a C.A.S. in women’s studies in 2005 and a Ph.D. in cultural foundations of education in 2006. Her dissertation was titled “This is How We Do It! Black Women Undergraduate, Culture Capital and College Success-Reworking Discourse.” Banks is currently the chair of the School of Education Board of Visitors.