University News

New activities director lays out plans

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, November 1, 2012

Timothy Shiner, the newly appointed director of Student Activities and the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center, spoke to the Undergraduate Council of Students general body last night about the challenges facing his office and his plans for the future.

Shiner, who was hired in August, explained his current philosophy about the new role.

“I should probably understand things before I starting mucking about with them,” he said. 

The Student Activities Office is already evaluating the effectiveness of changes made to the University’s orientation program, Shiner said. The office has also received input from President Christina Paxson and Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron, he added.

General body member E-Soo Kim ’15 asked Shiner what he thought could most be improved in the office.

Shiner said he wants to focus on a stronger online presence – because of the near constant turnover in directors since the SAO was created, it is “a little behind” compared to peer institutions in its use of technology.

UCS President Anthony White ’13 raised the issue of scheduling space for student groups.

“At the bottom line, it’s a fiscal issue,” Shiner responded, adding that it is one of the most essential problems his office faces.

There are probably spaces that are underused or that student groups perceive as not suitable to their needs, he said. This is a problem of  “what they need versus what they are used to” that the SAO can help groups work through, he said.

The two remaining vacancies in the office are in the process of being filled. Students have been involved in the search process, Shiner said.

For example, students who work in the SAO and those involved with orientation programs interviewed candidates for administrative coordinator. Members of student groups advised by the program associate were given an hour with applicants for that position without any administrators in the room, Shiner said.

An admission committee that looks at student applications is also looking into the potential for student involvement in establishing criteria for admission, said UCS Vice President Brandon Tomasso ’13 after Shiner concluded his presentation.