Reforming of student affairs underway

Institutional News

A proposal to re-organize Western’s Student Affairs was approved and is currently underway.

The proposed Student Affairs Organizational Chart filters from the single presiding Dean of Student Affairs and then moves to three new positions: Associate Dean of Student Development; Assistant Dean for Residential Life and Services; and the Assistant Dean of Student Services and Recreation.

Judy Grimes, the current dean of Student Services and interim dean of Student Development, will become the Dean of Student Affairs and oversee the entire department.

“This should be extremely positive for students,” Grimes said. “The Associate Dean will have a much more focused position and will be able to concentrate his time of students.”

Duane Bruce was the first person hired to fill one of the new positions. He will begin as the Associate Dean of Student Development March 3. The other positions are currently in or will soon begin search processes. According to Grimes, the Assistant Dean for Residential Life and Services will oversee Residence Life, the Health Center and Recreation Services to allow Bruce more access in the Blum union to be available to meet with students individually or in groups. Under the Assistant Dean of Student Services and Retention is the proposed position of Retention Coordinator. According to Joseph Bragin, provost and vice president for student affairs, Western is still in the process of classifying the retention coordinator position.

“What we can say about it at this point is that the retention coordinator will work closely with academic affairs to deliver services and programs that materially improve the academic success of Western students,” Bragin said. Another new position on the organizational chart is the International Student Coordinator. This person will work with admissions to process international student applications and assist in collect­ing all necessary documents for international students to attend Western.

Grimes said this position will be necessary as Western gains more Graduate programs. Bragin said, “This position has responsibility to grow our international student body and to provide programs that complement classroom instruction in providing the Western community as well as the surrounding region with a broader and deeper understanding of other cultures.”

Junior Peter Nelson who works as a student assistant in the Student Services office said that by combining student services and student development like other universities do will hopefully be more successful with retention rates by helping students. “Hopefully this will bring positive changes to students organizations, athletics and academics,” Nelson said. Altogether, the new positions and the re-organization of Western’s student affairs are supposed to expand services to students. “The goal is to provide the best possible services for students making the most efficient use of our funds and our personnel,” Grimes said. Bragin said the re-organization has taken more than a semester of review with extensive discussions to find a consensus view to create a unified structure under one dean. Grimes said the idea began after Paul Shang left Western in June 2007 when both student services and student development met with Bragin to discuss changes. “The result was an overwhelming desire to become s student affairs division,” Grimes said.

“We have [since then] spent a great deal of time listening and discussing with a wide variety of groups on campus and believe we have developed a strong plan to provide excellent services to students.” According to Grimes and Bragin, presentations of this structure were made to the Student Affairs Division, the President’s Cabinet, the Faculty Senate, the Student Government Association and the Staff Council, and each group expressed general agreement with the structure. Bruce’s hire began the new structure and Western hopes to announce the International Student Coordinator shortly.

“I am excited about the prospects of Western moving into whole new areas of student programs and services and by the exceptional quality of the applicants we have had to fill current vacancies in the division,” Bragin said. “Returning to the original organizational structure will allow the student affairs staff who have been doing an exceptional job in delivery of programs and services to do even more, and eliminates some of the obstacles that they have had to deal with.

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