New student affairs professionals and ombudsperson join Stanford

Stanford recently welcomed several new staff in Student Affairs and the Ombuds Office.

Brenda McComb
Brenda McComb

Among them is BRENDA MCCOMB, who joined the university as interim associate vice provost and dean of students. McComb comes to Stanford from Oregon State University, where she held several positions, including dean of the Graduate School and senior vice provost for academic affairs. She previously held positions at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Kentucky.

For much of her life, McComb felt that the sex she was assigned at birth did not align with her gender identity. While working at the University of Massachusetts, she formally came out as a woman to her colleagues, began her medical transition and changed her name to Brenda. At Oregon State University, she taught several courses, including a Queer Studies course on transgender lives, was an advocate for trans students and staff, and helped create the first trans support group in the city of Corvallis. Her appointment at Stanford began in August and will continue through June of next year. She succeeds Chris Griffith, who retired.

Also new to Stanford is JILL THOMAS, who is serving as the Title IX coordinator and director of equity investigations. Thomas oversees the Title IX Office, which collaborates with the Stanford community to stop, prevent and remedy interpersonal violence and gender-based discrimination. Thomas served as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento for more than 11 years. She also has more than 20 years’ experience as a JAG attorney for the U.S. Air Force.

BINA PATEL is the new director of Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS, the university’s counseling center dedicated to student mental health and well-being. Patel previously served as assistant director of clinical services for the department since 2016, providing senior-level support and consultation to offices across campus. Before coming to Stanford, Patel was a psychiatrist at MIT Medical, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as a clinical instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

BRENDA BERLIN joined Stanford on Sept. 4 as the new ombudsperson. She oversees the Office of The Ombuds, which is a neutral, confidential and informal channel for resolving conflicts within the university. Any student, postdoc, staff, faculty or other member of the Stanford community can seek the advice of the office. Berlin came to Stanford from the Duke University School of Law, where she was on the clinical law faculty.

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