The Interview USA
Pensacola State College
Executive Director of Institutional Equity and Student Conduct

Lynsey Listau

With increased awareness of mental health issues and the importance of belonging on campus, setting up holistic support structures for students is a vital part of Student Affairs. However, when students are uninformed or uncomfortable with sharing their struggles, they’re far less likely to reach out for help. This is what Lynsey Listau, Executive Director of Institutional Equity and Student Conduct at Pensacola State College, works to prevent. 

Lynsey joined Co-Host of The Interview, Max Webber, to discuss how her team creates a culture of care at Pensacola State, and goes the extra mile to provide students with the support they need to succeed. 

Lynsey's Journey

Max: Let’s start with a brief introduction to yourself and your institution…

I’m Lynsey Listau, the Executive Director of Institutional Equity and Student Conduct at Pensacola State College. My position aligns with a traditional Dean of Students role, so I oversee things like student conduct, mental health and wellbeing, relationship violence prevention services, and basic needs support.

As for Pensacola State, we’re one of twenty-eight institutions in the Florida College System, with 11,000 students across seven locations in two counties. Our focus is on serving the community and enhancing the local workforce, so we have a range of programs from a charter academy for high school students, to traditional associate and bachelor degrees, and workforce education programs.

Max: What drew you to a career in Student Support?

I always wanted to go into education, so I assumed I’d become a teacher. As an undergraduate, I joined several clubs, helped out in my classes, and worked as a peer mentor for freshmen. When they saw how much I loved working with students, my advisor explained that I could do it as a full-time job. I knew I had something to bring to the role because my family immigrated to America from Scotland, so I had an experience of the challenges some students face navigating the college process. Working with a team that helps students navigate those processes, develops their leadership skills, and celebrates their successes is what keeps me coming back every day. 

Max: What’s your biggest focus regarding student safety on campus?

For our team, safety is about ensuring students feel comfortable and welcomed on campus, and know what support and resources are available to them. However, each of our students will have a different lived experience that impacts their safety needs, so we try to understand them on an individual basis, taking the time to find out what will make them comfortable. By building trust, basing relationships in open communication, and making sure individuals who have safety-related jobs are visible, we can then focus on prevention and de-escalation. If students feel comfortable enough to share their concerns with us, we’re able to assess risks, prevent crises, and de-escalate before a student drops out. Additionally, we place a focus on training students in clubs and organizations in unacceptable behavior. That’s approached through a partnership of conduct and care, so we will always address unacceptable behavior, but we do so because we want students to feel safe enough to succeed. 

Max: How do you go about creating a sense of belonging on campus?

As a state college, we serve everyone from high school students to people in their nineties, so there are vast differences in what our students need to feel a sense of belonging. By acknowledging that we have a diverse student body, we can provide a range of opportunities for them to connect on campus. We work to create spaces, places, opportunities, organizations, lectures, and mentoring programs that all lend themselves to students finding a connection on campus. If a student connects, whether it be through a club or relationship building with faculty, they’re far more likely to feel a sense of belonging and be academically successful. 

Max: Post-pandemic, how do you support students outside of their studies?

Before the pandemic, we would often put a band-aid on things and expect students to take the initiative if they needed further support. We’ve since created the Pirates CARE Student Resource Center, allowing us to look past the initial problem and address the range of care needs an individual student might have. For example, instead of simply giving students access to our food pantries, we ask how many people are in their household, and provide food and toiletry items for their whole family. That way, the student’s food needs are met, but we’re also ensuring they can support their family and come to class worry-free.  

Additionally, we’ve seen an increase in students accessing our counseling services, so we perform ongoing case management in that area too. If a student comes to the CARE Center for a counseling session, based on their needs, they may leave with a gas card to pay for their trip home, or clothing for a job interview. We want to de-stigmatize asking for help, and ensure students don’t feel ashamed to seek help if they’re struggling. For example, we removed the physical brick wall and put up a window in our Campus Career Closet to normalize students’ clothing needs. We’re constantly asking ourselves what we can do to increase support resources, and then doing everything we can to make students feel comfortable using those resources. 

Max: How do you engage students with these resources and initiatives?

Another reason why getting to know students on an individual basis is so important is because it allows us to determine the best methods of communication. We’ve found that, instead of email blasts and flyers, we need to engage with students where they are. For example, if there are a lot of students attending classes in the same place, we’ll set up our table in that building and strike up conversations. We also make use of social media platforms because that’s where students congregate virtually. Generally, we work hard to establish a culture of care among staff members on campus, so even though a student may not engage with our resources themselves, if they approach a faculty member or instructor who they trust, that individual will be able to engage us on their behalf. If students know staff will listen to their needs, and will communicate on their level, they’re much more willing to engage.

Max: What’s the best advice you’ve received during your career?

Where you work matters. For me, I’ve always tried to find a place where there’s a focus on students, and the work that’s being done will make a definite impact on their lives. The sense of purpose you get from working in a place that makes a difference is invaluable. 

Curious to see what the future of training looks like?
Max Webber
Max works closely with people leaders and change-makers in our professional services markets. If you're looking to feature on The Interview, or simply want to learn more about GoodCourse, then get in touch at

The future of training is here, are you ready for it?

Tired of chasing your learners to complete dull training? Let's speak today👇
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.