Two VP and Dean candidates hold open forums

by Nathanael King / Beacon Staff • December 3, 2015

Forums were held on Dec. 1 and 2 for Emerson community members to meet two candidates for the new Vice President and Dean of Campus Life position. The applicants’ names are being withheld by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion due to confidentiality concerns.

The first candidate, who presented on Tuesday to 25 people in the Multipurpose Room, holds a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University. He currently works at a local college and has worked in university administration since 2000.

This candidate, a husband and a father, spent much of the presentation discussing his philosophy on enhancing partnerships between student affairs and academic affairs by recognizing departments with mutual needs. His strategy is recognizing potential interdepartmental partners with mutual needs and establish relationships between them to tackle issues systematically.

“People have called me a change agent,” he said. “I think I’m just someone who builds off of relationships and then, through the community, we make change.”

The first applicant said his past work gave him experience with international students, religious issues, sexual orientation, and gender identity. He also presented potential initiatives for Emerson, including the use of data from the National College Health Association survey that the college conducted in the spring of 2015 to make targeted changes to improve student mental health.

“I think I have a strong inner compass,” the contender said in an interview after the forum. “I think I’m someone who always has lead with integrity and followed my gut.”

The second candidate, who presented to 28 people in an Ansin Building classroom on Wednesday, holds a doctorate in history from Rice University. He has worked in administration since 2005 and has been in university administration since 1997.

“Really rich learning happens outside the classroom,” he said.

This applicant, a father of two, said that he is seeking a position at Emerson because he wants to work with students he finds interesting. His wife is an alumna of the college, he said.

He spoke about the importance of a campus that is safe, diverse, and inclusive. He said he and his previous colleagues were very focused on recruiting students of color and LGBTQ students into leadership positions.

“It's so important for first-year students who arrive on the campus to see students like them in positions of leadership and to envision themselves as having a place and path in the community,” the second candidate said.

In an interview after the forum, the second prospective dean said that his firsthand experience with a wide variety of issues and challenges is his most valuable asset.