After voicing their concerns at the Board of Governors’ meeting last week, non-traditional students now know what to expect in terms of changes in their organization.
According to Vice President of Student Affairs Esther Perález, the non-trads were supportive of the information given in the meeting about the reorganization of student affairs, although they lost their much-loved director, Ellen Kisker, in the process.
“I presented the reorganization plan which addressed non-traditional students and they were supportive of it,” Perález said.
Taye Triggs will be taking over Ellen Kisker’s responsibilities and taking on many more. Triggs was named the Assistant Dean of Student Development and Director of Diversity and Inclusion.
“This position and the one in the Center for Student Engagement was combined with an understanding that we would initiate a new model pertaining to adult learners for non-traditional students,” Triggs said. “We have had conversations with the students who are involved with the non-traditional center as well as those who utilize their services concerning the changes.”
Perález described the benefits that non-trads and traditional students would see throughout the transformation. She explained that since Western’s enrollment has gone up, surpassing 6,000 this year, student affairs has not been able to hire new staff. Perález’s new way of doing things will hopefully be more efficient and make Western’s campus groups more united.
“The new reorganization provides an opportunity for greater collaboration and communication between programs in the units and between the units,” Peralez said. “Whereas the former students had individual programs working alone to try and provide support with one or two staff members.”
Over 40 professionals are being cross-trained to ensure they can deal with issues from a number of organizations. Peralez believes that this will benefit all groups on campus as a whole.
“I anticipate that this model will also ensure that areas that were not always emphasized because the expertise was not there will now be addressed,” Peralez said.
Triggs said that the fact that the students voiced their concerns helped the process of making changes move along smoothly.
“One thing that we can always bet on is that change is eventually going to happen,” Triggs said. “I have to commend the students, both traditional and non-traditional, on their ability to express their feelings toward decisions that are made while maintaining their commitment toward success.”
Triggs said she is looking forward to the changes and the new opportunities they will bring students.
“I am very excited about working with the students to create opportunities to showcase their skills and knowledge as we work toward independence and interdependence,” Triggs said.
Triggs has several goals in place as the Dean in her new position, but one main thing she is striving for.
“My main goal is to be successful in creating a campus culture that is rich in tradition and fully engaged,” Triggs said.