After Leonard Brown, Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Affairs, left St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), his position was split into two. Taking the place of Dean Brown are Derek Young, Interim Dean of Students, and Shana Meyer, Interim Vice President of Student Affairs.
As Meyer explains it, she and Young are responsible for “a lot of administrative work.” She in particular is tasked with overseeing the Wellness Center, Public Safety, Residential Life and counseling. All of this, said Meyer, is to “focus on student needs and conduct,” which she described as “most important.” However, the future responsibilities of these positions have not yet been determined. Meyer went on to say that we will just have to see how it all “shakes out.”
Meyer and Young have high hopes for this year. They are rolling out Campus Labs Engage for students, a program that can be accessed in one’s browser as well as in the app store by the name “CORQ.” Club leaders have been tasked with inputting information about their extracurriculars so when it is finally opened up to the campus community, students can use it to browse and schedule different club activities. While the school is placed under COVID-19 guidelines, communication becomes far more difficult, and this app, Young believes, will help with planning and outreach.
Meyer also intends to increase collaboration with other departments. In particular, she is excited to work with the newly appointed Interim Chief Diversity Officer, Kelsey Bush, and the Director of Public Safety, Tressa Setlak. This cooperation can benefit the school in multiple ways, but one of the biggest issues Meyer wants to handle is COVID-19 policy. She is impressed with how well students are following regulations, and acknowledges that these regulations will not be around forever. She referred to SMCM’s previous work with a Student Advisory Committee, which helped to create the current policies. Meyer intends to put this to use again “as a sounding board” to try out new ideas in the future.
Meyer regrets that she has not “gotten the full picture of campus,” as many student activities are restricted to Zoom. Last weekend, she said, she began to see “more students walking around,” so she is optimistic about more in-person involvement. She views it as a result of fear– students want to be here, but they are also scared. Meyer plans to increase the number of available programs for students in hopes of eliciting further activity, with a particular emphasis on the Student Government Association.
Finally, Meyer wanted to leave the student body a note of reassurance. She found there were feelings of mistrust between students and administration, which disheartened her. She stressed that admins have “[students’] best interests at heart,” and that she wanted to build a positive relationship between the two groups. Even her emails, she says, are sent with the intention of “increasing transparency” for the campus community.
To this end, Meyer (mailto:email@example.com and 240-895-4208) and Young (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org and 240-895-4207) have opened themselves up to speak to students about any and all concerns they may have. Both are moving about campus regularly, so the best way to get in touch may be to call or email. Or, as Young suggests, if you see him, “just stop [him] and say hi.”