John Blackshear Named Dean of Students

Psychology professor will play key role on coordinating academic and student life.

John Blackshear leads students on a tour as part of his SpringBreakthrough class on forensic psychology.
John Blackshear leads students on a tour as part of his SpringBreakthrough class on forensic psychology.

John Blackshear Following a national search, John Blackshear, associate vice provost of undergraduate education, has been named dean of students and associate vice president of student affairs, Mary Pat McMahon, vice provost and vice president of Student Affairs announced Thursday.

In this role, Blackshear will be a critical and highly visible member of the Student Affairs senior leadership team, providing overall vision to support the ability of all Duke students to learn and thrive in the campus community, McMahon said. He will begin in the role Aug. 1.

“I am delighted to announce John Blackshear’s appointment as dean of students,” McMahon said. “The dean of students provides essential support of populations including incoming students, student veterans, graduate and professional students, and parents and families.

“In addition to serving on the senior leadership team for Student Affairs, Dean Blackshear will oversee planning, strategic direction, and management of areas supporting student health, wellness, and well-being, as well as Duke’s Community Standard, student conduct processes, and crisis response coordination, and will serve as an essential leader in shaping how the entire Dean of Students Office and the Division of Student Affairs encourage student growth and provide support for all Duke students.”

Blackshear teaches forensic psychology as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, and lives with his family in Trinity Residence Hall as a faculty-in-residence.

He will continue to hold the post of associate vice provost of undergraduate education. In that role, he helps coordinate shared priorities between Student Affairs, the university’s academic deans and the Office of Undergraduate Education.

In addition, he also currently holds the title of dean of academic affairs for Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. He will step down from this position when he becomes dean of students.

“My work (at Duke) has always been to consider how we plant the seed – as individuals and as a community – so that our students succeed and flower when they are no longer in our presence,” Blackshear said. “I take great joy being an effective, responsive agent in students’ lives. This is a role where I can put all of that experience into action.”

Blackshear previously was senior associate dean of academic planning in Trinity College and assistant vice provost of undergraduate education. Since 2001, he has served a wide range of essential support roles for students at Duke, including academic dean, supervising Duke’s low-income and first-generation scholarship and success programs, serving as clinical director of the Academic Resource Center, and working with Duke’s Office of Student Returns and Student Disabilities Access Office. He was Duke’s student ombudsperson from 2007-2015.

Blackshear also previously worked in Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) from 2001-2007.

A clinical psychologist by training, Blackshear holds his doctorate in clinical psychology from Georgia State University, and a masters in community/clinical psychology as well as a B.S. in psychology from Florida A&M University. Blackshear has served as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke since 2009, and will continue teaching.

Blackshear will also continue to serve as the Faculty-In-Residence (FIR) in Trinity Residence Hall. The Blackshear family--including wife Kimberly Blackshear, assistant director of programs for Family Connects International in the Sanford School of Public Policy’s Center for Child and Family Policy, and their six children--have opened their home to first-year students in Trinity and Giles residence halls since 2016.

Trinity College Dean Valerie Ashby said Thursday she has begun the process of identifying the next dean of academic affairs for Trinity College.