Q&A highlights strategic changes in Student Life
August 16, 2013
The Student Life division has been busy this summer developing new programs and reorganizing its offices. The Source sat down with Dean of Students Anna Gonzalez to learn what drove the changes and how they will improve life for Lewis & Clark students.
Would you please walk us through the recent staffing changes and departmental reorganization within Student Life?
As dean of students, I oversee student engagement, wellness services, International Students and Scholars, Physical Education and Athletics, New Student Orientation, Campus Living, and career development.
What was previously known as the Center for Career and Community Engagement has split into two separate student services: the Career Development Center and Leadership and Service. Minda Heyman is now the director of the Career Development Center, and we are pleased to announce the new Director of Leadership and Service, Harold McNaron, who will begin August 21.
Tricia Brand has taken on the new position of associate dean for student engagement.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs is now the Department of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement, and we are currently conducting a search for its director.
A search is currently underway for the director of judicial affairs, and Kelly Hoover has taken on those responsibilities in the interim.
We also created a new program coordinator position that supports both the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement and International Students and Scholars.
Within Campus Living, Charlie Ahlquist is now the assistant director of residential education. Angela Buck is our newest area director and will work primarily with the multicultural themed hall.
With Judy McMullen now retired, we’ve also seen a few big changes in Athletics. Mark Pietrok is now interim director, and a search for permanent director will commence this spring.
What kinds of new student programming will Student Life offer this year?
To kick off the school year, we are implementing several new programs for this year’s New Student Orientation. The first is a test called StrengthsQuest, which will help our first-year students identify their natural talents and acquaint them with the services offered by our Career Development Center.
The other program will require every first-year student to go through alcohol, drug, and sexual assault education. Additionally, we will offer trainings for informing the entire Lewis & Clark community about sexual assault education.
We are also introducing a new way to support student-led organizations at the Pio Fair this year. Every student who attends Pio Fair will get vouchers, called Pio Paws, to distribute around to various student organizations as they learn about them. These vouchers hold monetary value and can later be exchanged for program funding for student organizations.
Some other big changes on campus include a newly remodeled Fields Dining Room with extended hours—7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.—and a new concept for student meal packages that will basically allow students to enter Fields to eat as many times as they want within a two-and-a-half-hour time block.
Changes to Maggie’s Café include a liquor license and some interior aesthetic improvements. Maggie’s will begin to serve beer and wine during the late afternoons and evenings on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. To spruce up the place a little on the inside, we were able to repurpose some campus furniture, a television, and we added some new shelving. Grocery items that were not selling well will be available for sale at the Bookstore or the Trail Room.
Throughout the school year we are also planning some large events for October and February—stay tuned for details!
What is your long-term vision for Student Life at Lewis & Clark?
We rewrote our mission statement this year with a tighter focus on learning outcomes. Our four main areas of concentration are health and wellness, civic leadership and career development, diversity, and experiential learning. Our goal is to better support students as they transition to college by encouraging personal development, promoting cocurricular learning, and providing career preparation.
What are the biggest challenges for new students?
Coming into a new space is a major transition, and one of their biggest challenges is finding out how we all communicate with each other at Lewis & Clark. There are so many channels—The Bark, The Source, Twitter, Facebook, The Green—even I’m overwhelmed! And because you can’t just decide to disconnect anymore, I usually tell them to plug in wherever they can because the virtual world will help lead them to real human connections.
How can staff and faculty help new students make a successful transition to life at Lewis & Clark?
First and foremost, help students move in on August 28! Secondly, you should feel free to check in with students to see how they’re doing throughout the year. And third—if you haven’t done this already—I highly recommend opening up your home for Thanksgiving to international students!