Over winter break, some changes within the Dean of Stu- dents Office and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) were determined and communicated to the student body by Dean of Students Scott Brown.
“We are always evaluating how we are staffing to best serve students,” Brown said. “We initiated the class dean model a couple years ago [and] created a more integrated CDI.”
According to an email sent by Brown on Jan. 13, “Shadra Smith will be the associate dean of students, supporting the Class of 2023, and Mitch Joseph-Kemplin will be assistant dean of students and director of student rights and responsibilities, supporting the Class of 2020. Beginning in 2020, class deans will remain with their class, build- ing relationships that will last throughout their four years at the College.”
The Office of Rights and Responsibilities now comes under the Dean of Students office. Additionally, a 0.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) was added to lesson the load on deans to better support international students, whose population at Wooster has increased over the past four years. Brown also added, “A search is underway for the Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.”
Regarding CDI, Brown’s email continued, “Kayla Campbell has moved to the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (Babcock 115). She will serve as the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer (CDEIO) Dr. Ivonne M. García’s program coordinator. In her role, Kayla will assist in inclusion programming for students, staff, faculty and the larger community.” García has been an “army of one” since arriving at the College, Brown explained, “so we took a step back and decided to have CDI report to her to ad- vance CDEIO initiatives.”
Religious and Spiritual Life (RSL) was also mentioned in the email since there has been some turnover in the last few years, but mentioned that Erin Guzmán will remain as Interim Director of RSL for the 2020-21 academic year.Guzmán discussed how she came into this new position.“[In Spring 2019], I was ap- pointed to serve as the Interim Director of RSL and fill the role of the Chaplain at the College, which is the position I started on July 1, 2019,” she said. “I actually have been at the College for the past couple of years, though working in a different capacity with RSL and CDI. This position is actually not a new one — though it is new to me.”
Guzmán explained that the Chaplain has served directly in RSL for “many, many years.” as a part of CDI. Previously, it was called the Office of Interfaith Campus Ministries. “There is a lot of interesting history about the shifts that have occurred in the branch over the last decade, but even more recently than that,” Guzmán said.
She then expanded on why her temporary position was extended.“The previous Director of RSL served that position for 20 years, and I was moved into his position with nobody to fill my previous one,” she ex- plained.
Many CDI staff within the branch of RSL either served part-time positions while serving other colleges, or left entirely, leaving Guzmán with the responsibility to coordinate most projects alone.
There was an attempt last spring to fill positions within RSL, but that turned up no new staff members.“It is my hope to begin some impactful inter-faith dialogue and increase the visibility of RSL on campus,” Guzmán mentioned.
She concluded, “I’m grateful to be working alongside some amazing colleagues, and my transition has been much more smooth because this is technically my third academic year at Wooster.”