portrait of Shirley Mosley

5 questions with…Shirley Mosley, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students

Shirley Mosley has always wanted to help people. Case Western Reserve University’s new associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students has had a long career of supporting, caring and advocating for those around her, and she’s on a mission to help students succeed.

Although Mosley is new to the dean of students role, she is a 15-year veteran of the university, working over the years in what is now the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Human Resources and, for the last five years, the Dean of Students’ Office.

For Mosley, moving to the Dean of Students’ Office was a natural transition and a perfect fit. Prior to joining CWRU, she had spent 21 years at Cleveland State University, followed by five years as a social worker and case manager in the Cleveland community. 

“I’ve had a lot of different roles, but I always had the desire to do social work,” she said. “In the Dean of Students’ Office, I have the ability to work directly with our students and to advocate for them—much like I was doing as a social worker in Cleveland, but in an academic environment.”

With the help of two assistant deans and case managers, Mosley works with students who are experiencing mental health, medical and personal issues, or struggling with anything that prevents them from succeeding academically. 

When reflecting on the challenges of the work in the Dean of Students’ Office, Mosley remains positive. “I get energized by helping people,” Mosley said. “I like to see the lightbulb go on—that ‘aha!’ moment. Sometimes it takes a long time to get there, but it’s always worth it.”

But Mosley sees her work extending to faculty and staff as well. “My goal is for our office to be the hub for all of our partners across campus, and to work together toward the same goal: the success of our students,” she said. “Students see the university as a whole. They won’t always reach out to the Dean of Students’ Office when something in their life is affecting their academic success. They might go to a faculty member or their resident assistant, so it’s important that everyone on campus knows how to help.” 

She recalls a frequent saying of CWRU Vice President for Student Affairs Lou Stark: “Students don’t care about organizational charts. They care about our services and how we treat them.”

Mosley has already taken steps toward achieving this goal. In 2015, she implemented a care management team approach, which coordinates prevention, intervention and support efforts across campus. And in 2017, Mosley founded CWRU’s Student Success Summit—an annual two-day event on campus for all faculty and staff to share information and ideas, and to learn how each member of the CWRU community can play a role in impacting the success of students. 

But no matter who she’s working with, Mosley says her main motivation is to bring out the best in people. 

“I want to help people realize what they’re capable of,” she explained. “To give them a different perspective and empower them to be the best version of themselves.”

Read on to learn more about Mosley in this week’s five questions.

1. What’s your favorite restaurant in Cleveland?

It’s really tough to pick one, but I’d have to say Mallorca, downtown.

2. What’s the most difficult class you’ve ever taken?

Accounting. I am definitely not a numbers person!

3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you pick?

I would have to say Cleveland! That’s where my family is, and it would be too hard to leave them. I’m one of 12 children and we grew up in Cleveland, and my children and grandchildren live here, so I have very strong ties to this community. 

4. What famous person—alive or deceased—would you most like to meet?

Michelle Obama. She has such a nice, confident presence, and I would love to just sit down with her and chat.

5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?

The people. I’m an introvert, so it’s interesting that I would say that, but it’s the people who I interact with on a day-to-day basis. Every day is different, but I love having a solid group of people that I can comfortably interact with and rely on. Everybody has something special and different to bring to the table.

If you ever want to get in touch with Mosley or her team, you can email deanofstudents@case.edu. (For care/crisis management, call our office at 216.368.1527. After hours, contact CWRU Police at 216.368.3333.)