Campus / News / April 10, 2013

Office of Student Development begins reviewing candidates for vacant positions

The Office of Student Development plans to fill at least four positions by August 2013 in a move congruent with the ongoing restructuring of the office.

Dean of Students Deb Southern is planning to hire a new assistant director for career and pre-professional development, assistant director of intercultural life, a student activities coordinator and a new associate dean of students.

The moves come after months of rethinking the office organizational structure in the wake of former Associate Dean of Students Heather Poppy’s resignation over winter break.

“What I want to do is brainstorm new approaches to how to meet these [students’] needs,” Southern said of the organization process. “So in order to do that, we’ve been exploring various scenarios and how those might play out.”

Although some details of the structuring still need to be ironed out, Southern is confident of the plan and does “not anticipate any problems filling them.”

“This is the season when people are looking at new jobs, new positions,” she said, adding that the office had received over 20 new applications for the positions since last week and that Associate Dean of Students Craig Southern was planning to bring four to five people to campus soon to interview for the activities coordinator position.

With Terrie Saline now the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Center for Career and Professional Development after previously being merely the interim director, the Center looks to hire an assistant director. The position announcement was posted on the Knox website on Monday.

In regards to the Center for Intercultural Life, Deb Southern said that the office would be creating a director and assistant director for the Center, contrary to how the office has previously worked.

“The assistant director will not solely be for international students,” Deb Southern said of the move. “Between the director and the assistant director, they will work together for the Center for Intercultural Life, as opposed to now having two directors working with different populations [of multicultural and international students].”

In regards to filling Poppy’s vacancy, the associate dean of students will have jurisdiction over the Center for Intercultural Life and judicial and case management, as well as new areas including student retention and grievance complaints.

However, until the other hires become finalized, this position will likely be the last one filled.

“All these pieces, in my opinion, have to be figured out before you start looking at the associate dean job,” Deb Southern said, even though they must begin the process because the time to hire is now. “If you waited for it to be perfect before you moved forward, you’d never move forward.”

Deb Southern was adamant that the college’s ongoing financial questions were not a motivation for the redefining of the Office of Student Development.

“From the top, there’s a strong commitment to student development and not skimping in this area,” she said. “I do not feel any pressure to not hire the most qualified people in the best way possible.”

She was also quick to praise the work of interim OSD worker Jessie Johnson ‘12, Coordinator of the Center for Community Service Kathleen Ridlon, Senior Assistant Director of Admission Josh Ferchau and Assistant Director of Student Activities Trish Hurst, who have all stepped up and filled part-time roles while the office has begun to transition.

Southern currently plans for interviews for all positions to be completed by commencement, with the new positions taken by July and August of this summer. And while the new people coming to the office will surely be welcomed, she believes that nobody who has taken on new responsibilities has felt overwhelmed.

“It’s the opportunity to do something a little bit different so you can build up your skill set,” she said of the challenges. “People seem anxious to help.”

The first candidate for the assistant director of students activities and engagement visited Thursday. The candidate, Travis Greenlee, is the current Graduate Advisor for Programming at Western Illinois University. The two other candidates for the position will be visiting the weekends of April 18 and April 21.


Tags:  deb southern heather poppy jessie johnson jill gates josh ferchau kathleen ridlon office of student development osd terrie saline trish hurst vacancies

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