New Dean of Students Tiffany Gabrielson Wants Law Students to Thrive

Dean of Students Tiffany Gabrielson previously worked at Stanford University and won an award for her commitment to professional development.

UC Law SF’s new Dean of Students Tiffany Gabrielson said she understands why students need to feel heard and supported, especially in times of crisis.

She faced challenges herself as a law student at Boston College. She once suffered a health crisis that put her in the hospital after she tried to soldier through a bad cold and kept studying instead of taking time to heal.

“That moment of getting sick made me think, ‘Maybe I don’t want to practice law,’” she said. “Maybe I want to help people going through this sort of thing in law school.”

At the time, Gabrielson had a mentor: the dean of students at her law school, who noticed Gabrielson’s skillfulness when leading student retreats. Gabrielson demonstrated the ability to ask probing questions to help students articulate their dreams and find their calling.

“The dean of students told me, ‘I know you want to be a lawyer, but you should be doing this job,’” Gabrielson recalled.

Since then, Gabrielson has spent her career serving students. After passing the Massachusetts Bar Exam, she earned a master’s degree in education from the University of the Pacific. She then returned to Boston College to work for a year as Assistant Director of Student Affairs.

She later spent nine years at Stanford University, where she worked in increasingly expansive student affairs roles, most recently as Director of the university-wide Office of Community Standards, where she oversaw student conduct reviews, and as Associate Dean of Students.

Demonstrating her commitment to professional growth, she helped organize workshops and luncheons to share best practices with student affairs professionals as a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). Her efforts were recognized in 2016 when she won the NASPA Knowledge and Community Achievement Award for Collaboration and Visibility.

As Dean of Students at UC Law SF, Gabrielson reports to the Provost & Academic Dean, applies the Academic Regulations to individual students, and oversees numerous services and departments that help students thrive in law school. They include academic planning and advising, student organizations and student government, student health services, disability resources, and the Center for Advocacy, Resources, and Education (CARE) that provides confidential support to students impacted by sexual assault and harassment.

She also manages student conduct matters and helps update policies and regulations that impact students. That’s one reason why Gabrielson said she wants to hear directly from students on issues that could affect their law school experience.

“It’s really important for me to understand the students’ perspectives and understand their stories,” she said. “That’s how I make policy decisions that best reflect their needs and wants.”

Reflecting on what she hopes to accomplish in her new role, Gabrielson said she wants to create an environment in which students can feel and be heard, and one in which everyone can thrive.

As someone who’s been through tough times in law school, Gabrielson also has a few words of advice for students: “Law school is hard, but you’re going to get through it. There’s a lot of people to help you get through it, and I’m one of them.”