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Instead of hiring, Campus Life office re-tools

The Office of Campus Life and Student Services has expanded the roles of several top administrators to cover the responsibilities once filled by currently vacant positions, including that of the associate vice president.

The associate vice president position, previously held by Margaret Klawunn, now the vice president for campus life and student services, has been open since July. Though a national search was underway, the University-wide hiring freeze led the division to "take another look" and redistribute responsibilities, a change that took effect March 1, Klawunn said.

Employees will be compensated for taking on new responsibilities. "If you're asking people to do additional work, then there's additional pay for taking on the additional work," Klawunn said.

Ricky Gresh, who formerly directed the Student Activities Office, is now the senior director of student engagement. He will have oversight over the SAO and will also be responsible for the Sarah Doyle Women's Center, the LGBTQ Resource Center, the Chaplain's Office and the Third World Center.

In his previous role, Gresh collaborated extensively with the other centers to "share strategies and advance priorities together," he said. His job now entails more "management responsibility."

A number of those centers are dealing with vacancies of their own, creating "short-term critical needs," Gresh said, which he hopes to address.

Gresh has been "calling meetings" between the centers for over a year and is, given the current vacancies, in a position to facilitate "how we share what we're doing," Klawunn said.

Putting the centers under one individual's oversight encourages cooperation within campus life and "creates more of an opportunity for strong collaboration with the Dean of the College's office," Gresh said.

With plans for the Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center in Faunce House moving forward, Gresh said it was time to "rethink staffing structure and support anyway."

Gresh's colleague Phil O'Hara was promoted from assistant director of student activities to fill the role of SAO director. His former position will not be filled, Gresh said.

Richard Bova, formerly the senior associate dean of residential life, will now oversee both ResLife and Dining Services.

Bova said he is "excited" about the additional responsibilities. On a day-to-day basis, it will "make me more conscious about focusing my time," he said, but will also give him "greater flexibility in bringing more people together."

Review and reorganization

The associate vice president of the division was also responsible for "some aspects of the non-academic disciplinary system," Klawunn said. These will now be handled by Allen Ward, the senior associate dean for student life.

The division is looking to have a new code of student conduct approved by the Corporation. Ward said it is a "good time to assume a greater level of responsibility" with the implementation stage ahead.

MaryLou McMillan, whose former position was executive officer of campus life and student services, will be assuming new responsibilities as the senior director for planning and projects for campus life. She will also serve as the liaison to the Department of Athletics, "formalizing" a connection that already existed, Klawunn said.

McMillan said that, in most roles at Brown, administrators must think broadly. The planning component of campus life "is really codified in this position," she said.

The reorganization was completed with input from the Organizational Review Committee, which was established by President Ruth Simmons in the fall to assess ways in which the University could cut costs and share resources, Klawunn said.

Simmons also created the Vacancy Review Committee, a group of top administrators which must approve any hiring decisions.

The division of campus life and student services currently has a proposal to hire a Muslim chaplain pending before the committee.

The Vacancy Review Committee already granted the division permission to hire a temporary administrative assistant for the Sarah Doyle Women's Center, according to Klawunn.

Kathy Tameo, the office's director of finance and administration, has been responsible during the reorganization process for looking at the office "as a whole" and working to "tap into people we already have here," she said.

As the division reorganizes itself, administrators will be continually "reminding ourselves" what to focus on, Klawunn said.

"The academic experience is the whole experience," McMillan said.

Putting pieces together

About half the division reported to the associate vice president of campus life and student services, Klawunn said. She had been performing the duties of both the vice president and associate vice president since July, and, though her colleagues were complimentary of how she handled the responsibilities, Klawunn said she "can't do everything in both of those jobs."

Reassigning responsibilities was done with efficiency in mind, Klawunn said, and each administrator is expanding upon something "they had a hand in previously."

"If it helps you to do better thinking about a project, that's ideal," Klawunn said.

For example, combining ResLife and Dining Services under Bova offers an opportunity to examine "how those together provide for students' room and board needs," Klawunn said.

"It's all about how we serve students and how we serve them efficiently," Bova said.

Campus life has also redistributed positions in Health Services. That office had been planning to use a "different management model," but has now abandoned that idea, Klawunn said. Instead, Edward Wheeler, director of Health Services, will "oversee the whole operation," she said.

McMillan said the completion of J. Walter Wilson has been "beneficial" in bringing people together both physically and in the way they think about their work.

Through this tough time, she said, "various aspects of the University have pulled together."

- With additional reporting by Nicole Friedman


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