Close search

Alumna brings YJ4L spirit to role as inaugural BW Dean of Students

At one time, she walked the historic halls of Dietsch as an undergrad majoring in international studies and French. In March, the entire campus will be her mainstay as Dr. Léna (Kavaliauskas) Crain '06 becomes BW's inaugural Dean of Students.

Headshot of BW Dean of Students Dr. Lena Crain

In this role, Crain will enhance and improve the student experience by providing leadership to BW's counseling and health centers as well as to areas focused on student conduct and Title IX. In addition, she will be instrumental in working with the student wellness coordinator to develop campus-wide initiatives.

"This is an exciting time as we further elevate the student experience," said Dr. Timeka L. Rashid, BW Vice President for Student Affairs. "New initiatives, programming and priorities are happening throughout student affairs as we work to create a distinctive, success-focused experience for all students that emphasizes our three pillars of connect, engage and grow.

"Léna will be at the forefront of helping us with retention and matriculation of students through key initiatives aimed at providing a safe, healthy, and supportive learning and campus environment. To have an alumna in this newly created position is special because she brings to the role a true understanding of the BW student experience," continued Rashid.

Education, experience aimed at student success

Crain comes to BW from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, where she served as associate dean of students for health, wellness and conduct. She is a longtime faculty member who has instructed courses in the U.S., Australia, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

In addition to a B.A. from BW, Crain has an M.S. in college student development from Oklahoma State University and a Ph.D. in higher education, student affairs and international education from the University of Maryland. Among honors, she has been recognized by the American College Personnel Association as an Annuit Coeptis Emerging Scholar and as a Diamond Honoree.

Crain is a board member of the Association of Student Conduct Administration, an editor for the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education and a proud Rotarian. She is also a notable author and speaker.

Paying it forward as a YJ4L

BW graduation photo of Dr. Lena Crain

Looking back at her BW education, Crain believes her alma mater helped shape her personally and professionally.

"I was an admission ambassador, resident assistant, Dance Marathon steering committee member and student body president," recalls Crain. "With the encouragement of faculty in BW's wonderful international studies and French and Francophone studies programs, I did a one-year teaching assistantship through the French Ministry of Education and Cultural Services of the French Embassy after graduation.

"My original goals after graduation included international public health or diplomacy. In a sense, I am doing a little of both now. My time in France helped me to see myself as an educator instead. When I returned to the U.S., I pursued work and eventually graduate study in higher education and student affairs," she explained.

"Serving as BW's inaugural Dean of Students holds deep personal and professional significance. Looking back on my time as a BW student, the practices modeled to me completely shaped the educator I became. I learned from educators within and beyond the classroom who were highly present, generous with their time and support, and helped students feel seen for their whole, evolving selves. It is an honor to share forward that same level of care for BW students today," she said earnestly.

"I'm grateful that well-being - embracing practices that sustain and improve ourselves and our communities - is becoming more central to preparing students for success. BW provides exceptional resources to support students' well-being. In the Dean of Students role, I look forward to deepening conversations about how this area connects to the broader campus ecosystem and to being attentive to the messages students receive about wellness," remarked Crain.

In addition to her career, Crain enjoys traveling, reading, playing and watching sports, and being outside in the woods or water with friends and family.

Media Contact

More News

BW wins two national awards for opera productions

BW faculty-student research shows dramatic changes in NE Ohio forests

BW students prevail at US Department of Energy CyberForce Competition