While students are fretting about parking passes, books and last minute registration, student affairs has been coping with the loss of two major players: Michael Speros, director of housing and residential life, and Duane Bruce, associate dean of student development.
“I think both Michael and Duane did really good things for the university while they were here and I wish them the best,” President Robert Vartabedian said.
Speros accepted an offer at a university in California and Bruce traveled south to the University of Kansas to earn his doctorate.
Judy Grimes, dean of student affairs, said it was hard to see both Speros and Bruce leave but understands they were both given great opportunities.
“You hire the very best people you can and you keep them as long as you can and eventually they may leave,” Grimes said. “But if you don’t hire them in the first place what better can you do?”
Grimes said both were really good about training their staffs so both student development and housing and residential life have been operating smoothly.
Sean O’Reilly is the current acting director of residential life. Speros hired O’Reilly in 2005, a year after he began at Western.
“Michael accomplished his goal of filling the residence halls and for the past two years we’ve opened full,” O’Reilly said. “Now we are just making sure that the procedures we have in place run smoothly so we make sure we open well.”
O’Reilly said the only challenge they face with Speros’ leave is being understaffed. Currently residential life is short a residence hall director for the suites and O’Reilly is supervising them.
Bruce graduated from Western in 1999 and returned to fill the associate dean of student development position in the spring of 2008. Though his time was short, he worked closely with the Student Government Association and programming.
Kathy Kelly, administrative coordinator for student development said, “He was very energetic and had a lot of future plans here, but he decided he wanted to get his doctorate and was able to find a program at KU to help him pursue his dreams.”
Since his departure, Grimes has become interim dean of student affairs and oversees SGA as their advisor. She we attend all SGA meetings and will facilitate procedures and codes of conduct. Kelly said the office will continue to have student programming without a current dean.
“Whenever people leave, other people step in and everything runs.” Kelly said. “It will be even easier this year because we have people with common knowledge and the SGA e-board is amazing this year.”
Vartabedian said that instead of hiring a dean of student development, the search about to begin will look for a vice president of student affairs and a director of residential life. As part of the reorganization that Vartabedian has been working towards since he began at Western July 1, 2008, with multiple vacant positions as the result of resignations, he felt it would be appropriate timing to have a nation-wide search for the new vice president instead of a dean.
Beth Wheeler, director of external relations heads the search committee and Vartabedian believes they can find closure for the vacant positions before the start of the spring semester.