Three finalists for the position of Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Smith Campus Center (SCC) and Student Activities visited Pomona College last week to meet with students, faculty, and members of the administration. The candidate who is selected will replace Neil Gerard, who has held the position for 18 years.
The three finalists are Boyd Beckwith, Assistant Dean and Director of the Student Center and Campus-wide Programs at Rice University; Sam Haynes, Associate Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs at Drew University; and Christopher Waugh, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Mohr Student Center at Lake Forest College.
According to Gerard, whichever candidate is chosen for the position will have to become involved with multiple issues on campus. Gerard said that the continued growth of the SCC and Big Bridges will be important focuses for his replacement, but his successor will also need to address specific topics of concern for Pomona students.
“I think there needs to be a continuing discussion between student government and the administration over a variety of issues including alcohol on campus, campus security, and dorm access,” Gerard said. “I think this person is uniquely positioned to bridge communication between the administration and the students.”
Boyd Beckwith has worked at Rice for the last ten years, and he currently oversees the university’s facility, the student development program, and student-managed businesses. At a student forum in Alexander Hall Thursday, Beckwith emphasized the need to make resources as convenient as possible for students to find. He also discussed ways of using technology to benefit students, such as an online event reservation process.
Beckwith said that he would like to focus on creating open communication lines between administration and students.
“I see my role being very much an advocate for what students want, but as an administrator there are some things I can’t say yes to,” he said. “I think it’s important for students to understand why and to see if there is some middle ground or compromises we can make to achieve whatever the end result is. It’s important to involve students in decisions that will affect them.”
Sam Haynes, who came to campus last Friday, has been working in student affairs positions for over 17 years and has worked at four different institutions. In his biographical sketch, Haynes focused on his role as a student advocate. He explained that he “measures the success of programming by the ways it contributes to the development of students overall and especially in their ability to take responsibility for themselves and their own plans and dreams.”
Chris Waugh, who visited campus on Tuesday, has been an educator for 18 years and has worked at Lake Forest for the last nine. In a student forum on Tuesday, Waugh described himself as a student advocate and said he saw opportunities for improvement at Pomona, including better utilizing Bridges Auditorium, updating the Coop Store to make it more vibrant, and working to create better collaboration with the other colleges in the consortium.
Waugh is also an advocate for the Amethyst Initiative, which calls for a conversation about lowering the drinking age.
“I guess my philosophy is [that] alcohol is a part of adult culture, it’s a part of family culture, it’s a part of religious culture, it’s a part of life,” Waugh said. “It’s not bad, it’s not wrong, it’s not taboo and we need to address it in a very open way.”
According to ASPC President Stephanie Almeida PO ’11, who is a member of the search committee that will chose Gerard’s replacement, a final decision will be made by the end of the semester.