New dean of students is ‘excited to be a part of the GV family’

Loren Rullman: New Dean of Students.   Courtesy /

Loren Rullman: New Dean of Students.   Courtesy /

McKenna Peariso

Just four weeks ago, Michigan-native Loren Rullman took on his position as the new dean of students and vice provost for Student Affairs at Grand Valley State University. Dean Rullman has already made it his mission to open his ears to Grand Valley students to better understand the GV community.

Originally from the northern town of Grant, Mich., Rullman was raised by two public school teachers who instilled a love for education in him. He has dedicated his 30 year career to students in higher education settings. He previously held the position of Associate Vice President of Student Life at the University of Michigan. 

“There I was responsible for campus housing, student activities and organizations, campus recreation, campus dining, student unions and lots of the out-of-classroom student experience,” Rullman said. 

The new Dean of Students now has 10 years of experience dealing with campus life at UM that will help him as he navigates Student Affairs at GV. Rullman has also had the opportunity to hire and work with Grand Valley graduates, which he said was always a great experience. 

Moreover, Rullman is still settling in to his new digs at Grand Valley with the intent to become immersed in the university’s culture. From joining prospective students and their families on a campus tour to meeting RA’s and helping with move-in at the Black Excellence Orientation, Rullman has been busy learning everything he can about the GV community. 

“Mostly what I have done for four weeks is spend all of my time meeting with people to try to understand Grand Valley’s history and culture, hopes, things that are working really well and what people hope for from student services,” Rullman said.

Even from first interactions, it is clear the new dean is someone who cares deeply about the students he works with. As Vice Provost of Student Affairs, Rullman plans to be a resource that focuses in on students and what they want for their campus life experience.

“Throughout my career, and even my four weeks here, I have been incredibly impressed with students capabilities, intelligence, aspirations, organizational capacities,” Rullman said. “So I have learned not to assume that we know more than students about what students want for their experience.”

Rullman is excited for students to return to campus and for the school year to begin. Coming from a larger school, the dean will now be navigating a smaller university with a different environment. He has said that the size and excellence of Grand Valley assured him to take the position.

“One of the great things about this university is that it’s big so there are lots of opportunities for students, at the same time the culture here is very student focused and I love that about this place – the bigness for student opportunities and the smallness for personal intention,” Rullman said.

Moving forward, Rullman plans to create a student advisory board to meet with students directly about their needs and experiences. He also hopes Student Services can be a valuable contribution in the higher learning accreditation this November. This accreditation is important for Grand Valley’s reputation and success.

However, Rullman thinks it is too early to start planning too much and is hoping to learn more from students as he settles into his new position. 

“Mostly I’m going to spend my first semester trying to listen to people – meet with students and faculty – so that we can figure out what it is we want to focus on in the student services division,” Rullman said. 

As more and more students move back to campus and classes prepare to start, Rullman can begin to see what life at Grand Valley is really like. 

“I am just thrilled to be here,” Rullman said. “This is such a great place. Everybody I have met has been so warm and welcoming and I’m really excited to be a part of the GV family.”