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Kevin Butler, assistant dean of Student Services, is the contact person for students with physical differences and co-advisor of the Student Judicial Board.
 
Posted 09.09.05

Assistant Dean of Student Services Co-Advises Student Judicial Board

Q: When were you hired at Wesleyan?

A: I was hired in fall of all 2004 and started in January 2005 as the assistant dean of Student Services.

Q: What led you to working at Wesleyan?

A: I have excelled in conflict resolution and judicial affairs at several institutions. I thought it would be interesting to advise a student judicial board, which is something I hadn’t done before.

Q: And what is your role with the Wesleyan Student Judicial Board?

A: I’m co-advisor with Michael Whaley. It gives me the opportunity to mentor students and help them understand what it means to “uphold community standards,” and how to successfully communicate that through the decisions the Board makes.

Q: Where did you learn about the judicial board process?

A: I have worked on judicial boards at Johnson and Wales and been the primary judicial hearing officer for my area as a hall director and area coordinator at Bryant University, Johnson and Wales and Quinnipiac University. In total I have about eight years experience being involved in judicial processes at various institutions. I wanted to be a part of a process that leaned more towards student involvement rather solely administrators making all the decisions.

Q: What are your other duties as an assistant dean?

A: My position exists to support students in their endeavor to succeed here at Wesleyan. In addition, I have replaced Dean Rick Culliton as the main contact for student with physical differences. Last semester I was able to streamline the process for students who need accommodations under The Americans with Disabilities Act/504 who requested housing and other accommodations. The next step for me will be to start working to offer programming that may help our community become more aware of how people with physical and learning differences are living and functioning every day.

Q: Do you interact with students on a daily basis?

A: I do have some interaction with students on a daily basis, however not as much as I would like. Because I’m new on the staff here, students are just realizing that I can be a resource for them. During orientation for the class of ’09 I was able to meet a number of incoming and returning students and start building a rapport with them.

Q: What are some of their concerns or questions, and how do you go about resolving problems?

A: I have had the opportunity to talk with some students regarding judicial procedures, sanctions and disability and difference accommodations but I think that being here at the beginning of the term will make it easier for me to make connections with students.

I am very honest with students. When they come to me seeking advice I try to be constructive and developmental. If I don’t know the answer to a questions I try to steer them in the right direction towards someone who is better suited to provide them with the information they are seeking. I always try to get the student to look at both sides of any situation and empower the student to speak up for themselves if that is necessary and/or take responsibility for their part in the situation.

Q: What other offices do you meet or collaborate with?

A: I collaborate with Graduate Student Services, Residence Life, the Class Deans, Health Services, Behavioral Health and Student Activities and Academic Affairs.

Q: Do you feel most students are aware of all the services Wesleyan offers?

A: Probably not. I only say that because there so many.

Q: What goes on during your day here?

A: It varies from day to day. It is the way Student Affairs professionals survive. It is extremely difficult to anticipate what any day will bring. I am very happy to be working at an institution where my student affairs colleagues understand how important it is to be flexible and have a wealth of knowledge regarding student life issues that ensures our preparedness in case of emergency and celebration.

Q: Why do you enjoy working with students and their issues?

A: I enjoy working with all students but especially those students that are working through situations for the first time. I enjoy having conversations with students regarding their reasons for being at Wesleyan and how getting an education may be one of the most important things they will ever do.

Q: What qualities does it take to be the assistant dean of Student Services?

A: When I am asked this question I am reminded of a book I once read in Philosophy 400 class “Insight into Insight”. One of the books topics was the “ah-ha” factor; the realization of an idea. When you are able to witness that process it can be absolutely inspirational. It takes patience and understanding to work in Student Services. There always seems to be someone who needs something. And there’s the rub. Helping students is what keeps me enthused about what I do.

Q: Where did you attend college and what are your degrees in?

A: I got my bachelor’s of arts in theater from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont, and my master’s of fine art in performance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Q: Are you still interested in the arts? What else?

A: I am very interested in film and theater. I used to play a lot of racquetball until I came to Wesleyan. Now I play a lot of squash. I sing in my church choir and play volleyball once a week. I do a little writing when I can which has been happily complicated by the birth of my son.

Q: And what is his name? And your wife’s?

A: Marshall. He’s seven months old. My wife Carleen works at Quinnipiac University. She coordinates community service and experiential learning.

Q: What sums up your personality?

A: I am always willing to help.

 
By Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection editor