A Day With The Dean: Texas Tech's Tim Dodd Visits Recovery Connections

Tim Dodd, Dean of the College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech, visited the Recovery Connections Middlesbrough HQ this month, while visiting England. We spoke to him about the decades of experiences he brings to his role, and involvement in the Collegiate Recovery Programme at the University.

Recovery Connections recently had the pleasure of welcoming Tim Dodd, Dean of the College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech, to our Middlesbrough HQ. Students from Texas Tech’s Study Abroad and Collegiate Recovery Programmes have regularly spent their summers with us, learning about Lived Experience Recovery in the UK. 

And only a week or so after we visited some of these students ourselves, during their trip to Prague, it was a great time to meet and reflect on the positive partnership developed between Teesside and Lubbock, TX.

But, already knowing plenty of information about student life at the University, and what several key members of staff do in their roles, we learned plenty about what the Dean’s role is in overseeing activities.

What does the role involve, with respect to the CRP?

“I oversee all the programs within the college, and appoint the Director and other staff with the recovery centre,” he said. “I look to see if they are keeping up with current trends, that they have great processes in terms of bringing students in, reaching out in the community, and integrating programmes. I also make sure their students have the best experience they can, in a very safe environment.”

What sort of benefits does having the programme bring to the university?

“We see the wonderful things that happen for these students and their families. It’s such a joy to also see the amazing work through their college life, they’re some of the best students on campus. These students that are in recovery, they really take their program seriously. There’s a lot of joy in being part of the community, they stay with the program and graduate and go out into the community as productive citizens of society.”

How does the programme help with promoting the university as a whole?

“The programme is very well supported by donors; many of whom have been in recovery, have family members, or children who have been through addiction,so they support the program immensely, they’re amazing supporters. 

The visibility it gives the uni, in terms of being a good part of the community and impacting people's lives, is excellent. We’ve had several actually come directly to us, that have heard about it through our media coverage, plus a board of directors that are all donors.”

What sort of relationship do graduates from the CRP have with the university?

They are our strongest supporters! They've been through it and realise the benefits of being able to connect with other students as they go through that journey, and be part of that community. So, when they graduate they really become our biggest advocates, and in many ways become community leaders of their own.”

What do you think a burgeoning Collegiate Recovery Programme needs to thrive?

I’d say the first thing you’d need is a champion, someone who knows the recovery community and can take that leadership. It also needs a lot of support from upper administration within the university ,who are willing to support it and provide some space. There needs to be a physical space where people can gather, where they feel comfortable meeting together, and have discussions and meetings together. 

It really has to be a commitment by the university, some basic resources to get it going, then from there you can build on it as you get students together, and getting supporters and from outside the community. 

What are your standout moments from your time at the university?

I love the celebration we have at the end of each year. We have a banquet, invite the donors, and graduating students stand up and talk about their journey from being in addiction; from being in all the pain and the problems they had with family. There are family members in the audience, seeing their sons or daughters graduating, and it’s just a lovely and emotional experience. 

You can really see the love and the joy that everyone is going through during that time, so that’s always one of the highlights of the year for me.”

Any advice for students coming to Recovery Connections over the next few years?

I think having that community is just so important. Having a place to go, a place to feel safe, to feel like you're with other people who’ve experienced  some of the things you have. And then talk about some of the issues as they come up on a daily basis.