assistant dean of Student Services, is the contact person for students with
physical differences and co-advisor of the Student Judicial Board.
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
Q: Do you feel most students are aware of all the services Wesleyan
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
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
Q: What sums up your personality?
A: I am always willing to help.
Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection