10 Questions With Taléa Drummer-Ferrell, Interim Dean of Students
Taléa Drummer-Ferrell is Kent State University’s interim dean of students, a position that serves as the university’s primary student advocate and assists the vice president for student affairs in the leadership of the division. Her appointment as interim dean of students began Oct. 1.
In this role, Drummer-Ferrell manages departments that provide student development opportunities and support services. She also works with the staff in the Division of Student Affairs to help promote a culture where diversity is encouraged and where students learn to respect differences, develop leadership skills and take responsibility for their actions.
Previously, Drummer-Ferrell served as the director of the Student Multicultural Center at Kent State. She has worked at some of the nation’s leading universities, including the University of Louisville, Eastern Michigan University and Miami University.
Learn more about Drummer-Ferrell as she answers these 10 questions.
Q. How do you describe your current position?
It is an honor to be in the role of interim dean of students. This position allows me to serve as the primary student advocate here at Kent State. I am excited to connect with students, faculty and staff in this capacity and look forward to building and enhancing relationships!
Q. How long have you worked at Kent State?
I have been a part of Kent State one way or another since fall of 2009. I left for about a year and a half for another position and came back fall of 2016.
Q. Why are you excited about your new role at Kent State?
It is an honor to serve as the institution’s primary student advocate. I am learning quite a bit quickly, and I have enjoyed the students, faculty, and staff that I have had a chance to connect with over the last few weeks.
Q. What has changed that has been good, or what do you hope never changes at Kent State?
I have been fascinated with the growth and changes of downtown Kent and our campus over the last 10 years. The revitalization of downtown Kent has been such a bonus to the Kent community. I am also impressed with new and remodeled buildings around campus. It is difficult to express what the enhancements to this institution means to someone like myself.
Q. How have you adopted the mission and values of Kent State into your own life?
I have sat in various seats, departments and roles over the last 10 years, and our value of “respect, kindness and purpose in all we do” is one that resonates with me. This is also inclusive of the value of a “diversity of culture, beliefs, identity and thought.” I want our students to know that they belong here and they are valued; they are why we are here and why we do what we do. If we keep these things in mind, our impact can be so powerful.
Q. What are your favorite Kent State traditions?
Honestly, my favorite Kent State traditions are around homecoming and our football games, admittedly so because my husband is a football coach. Football is what brought us together, and we honored that by getting married here at the Kent State Hotel and Conference Center and had the pleasure of having our mascot, Flash, at the reception. --
Q. Which parts of campus are your favorites?
Our library, especially with the new Starbucks! I spent hours on hours every night finishing my dissertation in our library. It is nostalgic to me.
The Kent Student Center. I love the food options in the building, our cultural centers and their vibrancy (Student Multicultural Center and the LGBTQ+ Center) and the various offices/resources/areas that are in the building for our students.
Dix Stadium. I don’t care how many games I go to. The game day energy never gets old!
Q. What makes you proud to work at Kent State?
I am someone who left and happily came back to Kent. It is a beautiful campus with so many opportunities for not only our students but our faculty and staff as well. I appreciate the colleagues I get to work with, the students who inspire and impress me, and the ability to say that I earned my terminal degree from this institution that has been so good to me.
Q. What bucket list item should every student (or faculty/staff) do here at Kent State?
Get a picture with Flash, our mascot.
Q. What advice do you have for the students at Kent State?
Be open to new experiences, ask questions, value difference, love yourself and others, and enjoy it … it goes fast!