(AMHERST, Mass., March 21, 2023) — Amherst College today named Angie Tissi-Gassoway its new Chief Student Affairs Officer (CSAO) and Dean of Students. She will be responsible for all functions of the Office of Student Affairs, including residential engagement and wellbeing; housing and operations; identity and cultural resources; counseling and mental health; student activities and leadership; health and community safety services; accessibility; case management; community standards; new student programs and orientation; and immigration and visa services. The appointment is effective immediately. Tissi-Gassoway has served as the interim CSAO since February of this year, before which they served as the interim Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer for 14 months.
Tissi-Gassoway joined Amherst in July 2012 as an area coordinator in Residential Life and, since then, has held various roles in the offices of both Student Affairs and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), including Director of the Queer Resource Center; Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Identity and Cultural Resources; and Associate Dean of Students for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. During that time, she co-led new student orientation and co-developed the social justice leadership LEAP program, founded and served as the inaugural director of the Queer Resource Center, and helped to establish a structure and expansion of the College’s cultural and identity resource centers, including the creation of the inaugural affinity-based graduation ceremonies, which have become a cherished tradition at Amherst. To reinforce the College’s commitment to inclusion and community, they spearheaded the “I Belong" campaign, the Day of Dialogue on Race and Racism, the Amherst Reflects series, and the Cultural Heritage Committee. In the past year, Tissi-Gassoway co-created and launched the Civil Rights and Title IX Office in ODEI and worked side-by-side with the provost’s office to recruit and retain a diverse faculty. They also currently chair the recently formed Campus Safety Advisory Committee.
Tissi-Gassoway has dedicated the last 20 years of their career to student affairs and diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education. Prior to their tenure at Amherst College, they served in Mount Holyoke College's health education office. Before that, Tissi-Gassoway worked at Oregon State University, where she first found her passion for community building, equity, and student engagement. She earned a master’s degree in education in social justice education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a master’s in public health and bachelor of science degree from Oregon State University.
“I am honored to serve as Amherst's Chief Student Affairs Officer and Dean of Students,” said Tissi-Gassoway. “It is a true privilege to work with our remarkable students, engage our collective community, lead the extraordinary team of Student Affairs, and collaboratively advance the work of community, equity, and belonging at the College.”
“I am extraordinarily pleased to welcome Angie back to Student Affairs in this leadership role,” said Michael A. Elliott, president of Amherst College. “Her experience prior to and at Amherst—and especially her deep commitment to an immersion in the DEI work that is so fundamental to our mission—has been ideal for preparing her for this critically important role. Angie is highly respected across campus and throughout our community, and their unwavering dedication to our students, to equity and inclusion, and to the academic mission of the College is abundantly clear. I am thrilled that they will be my strategic partner in this role.”
Amherst College prepares students to use ideas to make a difference in the world. Since its founding, in 1821, in Western Massachusetts, Amherst has demonstrated steadfast confidence in the value of the liberal arts and the importance of critical thinking. Today, its financial aid program is among the most substantial in the nation, and its student body is among the most diverse. Small classes, an open curriculum, and a singular focus on undergraduate education ensure that leading scholars engage daily with talented, curious students, equipping them for leadership in an increasingly global and complex world.