Meet the new Vice President for Student Affairs


Photo submitted by Michele Caruso

On Dec. 3, an email from University President Jay Clune was sent out stating that Michele Caruso is the next vice president for student affairs. 

Caruso was named interim vice president before the pandemic was announced. Clune stated in his email that Caruso demonstrated great strength and passion while guiding the students through the pandemic. 

Clune also stated that Caruso has worked to curb student hunger by partnering with Mom’s Pantry and establishing Tillou’s Table. He said she also influenced diversity and inclusion policies at Nicholls. 

Caruso said some of her other goals with this position are to look at the structure of divisions and she wants to see about bringing in a separate dean of students position.

“We do recognize the important role that position plays and helping to make sure that we are meeting all of the student needs and that we’re fully developing out the engagement piece that we know is so important to students,” Caruso said. 

Caruso said she graduated with her doctorate from Mississippi State University and her undergraduate is from the University of New Orleans. Caruso said nothing is more important to her than taking care of students. She said her entire career has been dedicated to that. 

“For me, this is the ultimate…You know, I’ve worked in various roles and positions over the years where I work very directly with students and I do look forward to continuing to work directly with students even though it won’t be quite in the same capacity,” Caruso said. “Being in this position for me is the ultimate means to be able to affect and impact policies and functions and structures and just daily life on campus.” 

Caruso then mentioned some challenges she expects to meet with this position. She said an ongoing challenge may be the next few phases of COVID-19 and what eventually coming out of COVID-19 may look like. 

She said even if the virus isn’t here, she expects things to look differently. She said she wants to help students get through it. She also said learning and growing from challenges, like the virus, is how students find their role at Nicholls. 

“Everybody has a different story. So, everybody comes into Nicholls with a different story; they write their own unique story while they are here and they walk into their own unique story. We all have commonalities, we all have our differences, but all of our stories are very unique and I think it is so important to honor that in every individual student,” Caruso said.