Chris Waugh took over July 1 as Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Smith Campus Center (SCC) at Pomona College. He comes to Claremont from Lake Forest College in northern Illinois, where he worked for nine years. Waugh replaces Neil Gerard, who retired from the position at the end of last year after over 18 years at the college.
One of the first services Waugh implemented at Pomona is the website Collegiate Link, a program similar to Facebook complete with “Wall” and “Events” pages. Waugh argues Collegiate Link has more to offer than the popular social networking site.
“It’s a repository for your student organization roster and constitution, and there are also opportunities to create learning outcomes for your organization,” he said. “You can print off a co-curricular transcript which lists all of your involvements, officer or leadership positions, and what learning outcomes are connected to each one.”
Waugh said these “learning outcomes” were a set of ideas or skills that a participant in a certain club or organization can aim to acquire. Potential employers would view the co-curricular transcript as way to understand a student’s role on campus outside of the classroom.
Each student’s Pomona College username and password gives access to the website, which lists every organization on the 5Cs from Cheese Club to Food Rescue to the men’s lacrosse team. Lists of current members, flyers for events, and other important information are available in one central location.
According to Waugh, the website is the first step in professionalizing the student clubs and organizations on campus. However, he also explained that Pomona is a “really well-oiled machine,” and that he is not looking to make any big changes before he becomes more acquainted with the college community.
Waugh had only praise for his predecessor, Dean Gerard.
“He’s a legend in our field,” Waugh said of Gerard. “Not only is the [SCC] amazing, but Neil put together a great team.”
Waugh plans to start out by first settling into Gerard’s position and the great team that he assembled.
“I’m not necessarily interested in change for change’s sake,” Waugh said. “I just want to observe and just soak it in, learn anything I can about what we do and why we do it.”
He added that the Pomona facilities and organizations that he oversees, including Edmunds Ballroom, Bridges Auditorium, and the 5C radio station KSPC, are running smoothly.
“In some respects, if I didn’t change a thing, just kept everything going the way it had been, that would be good,” Waugh said.
So far, Waugh has implemented one small change in the SCC itself: the first floor bathrooms outside of Edmunds Ballroom now have signs underneath the “Men” and “Women” symbols that read “Gender Neutral Restroom is located in the Lower Level by Dom’s Lounge.” Waugh said this change went into effect because members of the community requested it.
For now, Waugh is focusing on the year ahead “as an opportunity to do an assessment and to fortify things along the way as the community presents the ideas.”
“I just couldn’t be more honored to be at Pomona,” Waugh said. “It’s a dream job and I’m very grateful, and I count it a real privilege actually to be able to do this work, and to work with students here.” He added that he is looking forward to interacting with students and faculty alike as he gets to know the Pomona College community better.
Outside of his work at Pomona, Waugh counts music as an important part of his life. He said he is planning to take guitar lessons in the spring and to perhaps join the college choir. A self-proclaimed avid jogger, he may be seen running around campus.
After living his whole life in the Midwest, Waugh loves southern California already.
“I’m never leaving,” he said.