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Summer Sees Staff Changes

Last year during a President’s Council meeting, it was proposed that the positions of Assistant Director of Student Activites and the Judicial Affairs officer should be two different positions instead of a joint position held by one person.

Before this decision, Clint Neill held both positions; now he has decided to retain the position of Assistant Director of Student Activites so that he can better focus on the needs of the students and not be split between two positions. “It was too much for one person, ” said Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Laura Bayless. “We were only able to do the most basic things.”

However, now that the positions have been split, each director can focus more heavily on his or her specific field. Neill now has the time to focus more fully on campus-wide programming such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer programming, civility involvement, and leadership development.

Taking over Judicial Affairs will be Regina Curran J.D. Curran worked at Coastal Carolina University and obtained a Juris Doctorate in Public Law from Roger Williams University.

Dean of Students Laura Bayless was recently promoted to Vice President for Student Affairs, a position formerly held by Mark Heidrich and Mike Freeman. Bayless was awarded the position by President Joe Urgo after she took on extra responsibilities last year. She will be building on her responsibilities from last year.

A new Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty was named this fall. Beth Rushing was named via the Board of Trustees and began her position on July 1. Rushing was found from Isaacson Miller, a search firm employed by the college. “The search committee did a great job of putting material together to help candidates understand the nature of the job and the particular strengths of St. Mary’s,” said Rushing. “When I left my campus visit, I knew that this was the place I wanted to be, and I was thrilled when President Urgo called to offer me the job.”  She was previously at Washington State College. In a press release Rushing stated, “For many years I have admired the public honors college mission at St. Mary’s. Liberal arts institutions are unique in their holistic focus on students. They create the conditions for students to expand their skills and knowledge and deepen their understandings of themselves as citizens and stewards of the world. St. Mary’s fosters this through close student-faculty interactions and an amazing array of co-curricular opportunities for students.” Rushing plans to spend some time this year listening to what the campus community has to say and use these conversations to guide her in the upcoming years. “The results of this conversation will be a set of strategic priorities that we can all agree upon, and that will guide our work for the next several years,” said Rushing. So far Rushing says she has been “extremely impressed,” by a warm and welcoming community here at St. Mary’s. “I’m looking forward to learning how to sail, to attending our theater and music performances, to cheering our athletic teams, to classroom visits and crepes in the Great Room,” she said. Her email is brushing@smcm.edu and she is also available on Facebook.

Ciji Tidwell, formerly the Area Coordinator for International Support Studies has left the college. According to Kelly Smolinsky, Tidwell left to be with her fiance and the search for her replacement is underway.

Sharon Murray, formerly the Administrative Specialist to the Dean of Students has retired from her position at St. Mary’s. According to Bayless, Murray is enjoying her retirement by reading on her Nook, cake-baking, and making band camp uniforms for Leonardtown High School.  “She loved her job, but could retire, and so she did,” said Bayless. Murray’s position has been replaced by Lisa Youngborg.

George Waggoner, former Director of Campus Technology Support Services, has retired from his post this summer. Tom Botzman, Vice President for Business and Finance, said that Waggoner “tried to do what is best for the students and facilities but he [also] tried to do what was best in his heart and I hope that I can say that about anyone who can retire.” Currently, Michael Gass is serving as interim Director of Campus Technology Support Services. Under Gross, IT will be looking to address services that are redundant in the system and upgrading Blackboard.

Another change in the Technology Support Services Office was the departure of Erik Horton, Web Programmer and Development Specialist. Horton left to accept a position as a Network Engineer for CSC. He accepted this position, he said, because it was “[his goal] to make [his] way out of a web development field and into more of a networking role.” Horton also stated that the abrupt departure of his former boss David Emerick contributed to his sudden depature, although he states “my interest in a different field has always been there.”

Correction: As originally published, Clint Neill’s name was spelled with one ‘L’.

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