Senate resumed for the first time this semester and invited the Vice President of Student Affairs Sharon Basso and the newly appointed Assistant Vice President Diana Graves to introduce the new hire, discuss future plans for Dean of Students, and answer lingering questions.
Basso attributed the lengthy hiring process to the search committee’s determination to find the right person for the job: someone who is “passionate about the role and deeply invested in the success of the students,” she noted. Graves has experienced many administrative roles in higher education and claims that her current work at CMC is “by far the most fulfilling work [she] could possibly be doing.” Some of this work includes improving student life at CMC because she “recognize[s] that everyone does not like the place,” she said. “I think it’s my job to listen to and advocate for the students; and we’ve got work to do.”
After introductions, a few questions were posed to Basso and Graves:
- Where do you see DoS going?
Basso acknowledged how DoS is still not fully staffed. Therefore, many of the resources are being spent to fill the vacant positions, including Assistant Dean of Disability Services, Assistant Dean of Community Expectations and Conduct, and Director of Residential Life.
- What can DoS do to help with the hiring of a diverse faculty?
Graves said that DoS has virtually no authority in hiring faculty members. This administrative capacity is left entirely to the discretion of the respective academic departments. With this said, she mentioned ways that students can involve themselves in the hiring process, such as participating in search committees and attending class demonstrations.
- What are some initiatives for this semester?
Together, Graves and Basso agreed that a top priority for DoS this semester is to fix gaps that make it difficult for students to navigate campus policies. Some of these gaps include the uncovered health insurance cost in students’ financial aid package, nonexistent startup funds for low-income students, the distinction surrounding commencement and graduation eligibility, and increased awareness for health and wellness.
Cabinet updates were also listed. Some of the pending initiatives include working to extend library hours, creating a student board for alumni events, imposing better food waste reduction practices, and digitizing the Hub with online orders. The Campus Improvement Committee also started a textbook loan program with the CARE Center. The catalog can be accessed here.
Senate will continue to meet on Mondays at 9 p.m. Stay tuned for emails from Patrick Elliott ‘19 to learn where next week’s meeting will take place.