Office of Student Conduct director makes student success a priority

Unlike most people, Libby Spotts welcomes difficult conversations.

As the director of the Office of Student Conduct, formerly the Office of Student Ethics, she knows the impact that difficult conversations can have on resolving conflict.

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Office of Student Conduct director Libby Spotts. Photo by Chris Meyer, IU Communications

"I enjoy sitting with students who aren't at their best at the moment and helping them realign who they are day to day with who they want to be," Spotts said. "I truly believe this is a big part of the learning curve, and we must create a space where students can struggle with their decisions and accomplish this growth."

Her passion for helping students recover from their missteps and move forward, which she first learned when she was a resident assistant in college, is what led her to a career in conduct work.

Familiar with Indiana University's unique student conduct system and their leadership in that field, Spotts jumped at the opportunity to relocate to Bloomington from Minnesota to become the office's associate director. A short four months later, she transitioned to the interim director for a year, before officially taking the title in April 2017.

In her role, Spotts manages the Office of Student Conduct as it oversees four key conduct areas on campus: personal, academic, organizational and sexual misconduct. Having these four areas under the IU conduct office's umbrella is part of what sets it apart from those at other Big Ten universities, Spotts said.

IU's reputation for innovation and leadership within the conduct field is what attracted Spotts to the position, but the office's commitment to student success is what made her want to stay.

Rather than simply ticketing or punishing students, IU's Office of Student Conduct takes an educational approach to its work.

"We want to educate students so they can be successful students," Spotts said. "Our goal is to keep them here and help them make the best decisions that are good for both them and the community."

To do this, Spotts and her team work to make the standards for all IU Bloomington students clear, hoping to remove barriers that might create issues down the road. In addition, they facilitate mediations and conflict resolution for students.

Outside the office, Spotts is taking advantage of the parks and hiking trails around Bloomington, as she loves spending time outdoors. She's also finding time to hone her DIY skills, by upcycling items for the house she recently purchased with her husband, such as turning a drab filing cabinet from IU Surplus into a bright yellow home office staple.

But mostly, she's learning the ropes of being a Hoosier -- something she says directly translates to her work.

"When IU's traditions and values -- all of the things IU students say when asked what it means to be a Hoosier -- align with student decision-making, it's a great opportunity for growth to happen."

And with a new name and a fully staffed team, Spotts is hopeful that the Office of Student Conduct will have many more of these successful moments this semester by being more accessible for students, faculty, staff and parents seeking resources and resolutions.