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Dean of Students Office introduces new positions

Mackenzie Clark
Managing Editor

On Wed., Aug. 23, Scott Brown, dean of students and vice president for student affairs, sent an email to the campus community detailing updates in the Division of Student Affairs. One of these updates included an announcement that the Dean of Students office would be adopting a new “class dean” model.

“Generally [this model] is the same,” said Brown. “However, this will allow the deans to develop class-specific approaches and interventions that better correspond with the general issues faced by each class year.”

Several staff changes have been made as a result of this decision. Carolyn Buxton, recently promoted to associate vice president for student affairs and dean of first-year students, will oversee the key operations of the Dean of Students Office.

“Dean Buxton is a very experienced dean with a long and distinguished service to Wooster students,” said Brown. “The first year is the most critical, as students are experiencing a great deal of transition. Our hope is to make the transition from matriculation to A.R.C.H. to Orientation to the first year much more seamless.”

Buxton also supervises Ashley Benson, the new associate dean of students, who will be in charge of the sophomore class.

“As associate dean of students, I serve as a support for students in a variety of situations,” said Benson. “Most importantly, I am a support for students in crises or other student related issues. I am in charge of presenting retention numbers for the campus, conducting exit interviews for students requesting withdrawals and leaves of absence, monitoring interim reports, managing the readmission process and communicating with parents and students as needed.”

Benson is also a member of multiple campus committees that focus on improving issues surrounding security, student conduct, first-generation college students, and Title IX.

“Dean Benson is new to the College and a real ‘impact hire,’ as she comes with deep and broad advising experience, especially with first-generation students,” said Brown.

Looking toward the future, Benson hopes to use this new position to bring more visibility to the Dean of Students Office and the Division of Student Affairs.

“I want to be visible and available to students,” said Benson. “It is important for students to know they have a resource available to them when they are in need.”

Although Brown is not a assigned to a specific caseload, like Buxton and Benson, he still plays an active role in students’ lives.

“I am always available to meet with students, and be a resource in any way for [them] personally, and also be in constant contact so I get the collective wisdom of our students to help me and the Division make sure we are creating the most powerful and personal Wooster experience possible,” said Brown.

The Division of Student Affairs is currently in the process of hiring a new interim dean to work with the junior and senior classes. While the first year and sophomore classes each have their own dean, there will only be one dean to work with both the junior and senior classes. Brown said this is due to the amount of support and resources already available to those students.

“We know that our juniors and seniors are at a developmental point where they know Wooster better, have greater confidence in navigating the experience, and also have the added benefit of closer relationships working with faculty,” said Brown.

The Dean of Students Office is currently hoping to have an interim dean hired by the end of September, and they will continue to search for a permanent hire during this academic year. Buxton and Benson will work with the junior and senior classes until a new dean is hired.

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