By Mackenzie Herring
In wake of the former Dean of Students Anna Gonzalez’s departure to Harvey Mudd College in California, the Lewis & Clark administration has brought forth two final candidates for Open Community Sessions in the search for her replacement. The LC community is able to attend these sessions, and resumes for both candidates were made available beforehand.
According to Mark Figueroa, Associate Vice President for Institutional Research and Planning and Search Committee Chair, the Dean of Students specifically deals with Student Life programs and activities.
“The Vice President is responsible for fostering the College’s commitment to student success by actively developing, implementing, and maintaining programs that enrich student learning, build and maintain a strong sense of community, and promote growth through engagement in the life at Lewis & Clark College,” Figueroa said via email.
The first candidate, Robin Holmes-Sullivan, hosted her session on Oct. 1. Holmes-Sullivan is currently working as Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of California, Office of the President, and works with all ten UC campuses. Holmes-Sullivan has also worked for the University of Oregon, in various capacities for 25 years.
Holmes-Sullivan mentioned that despite working with much larger universities, she believes that her skills can be applied to serve LC.
“The opportunities that I have had in the office of the president I really think are very transferable to what is needed here as well,” Holmes-Sullivan said. “I’m a visionary leader, I understand how to create strategies and inspire people to be better and to move towards common goals.”
While addressing her ability to work with students individually, Holmes-Sullivan said that despite the large student body at UC, she is able to reach them in other ways.
“I would also add that while meeting with the search committee someone asked me, ‘well you don’t interact with the students’, and I just want to put that to rest,” Holmes-Sullivan said. “The difference is that I don’t belong to a campus so I don’t have students that I have regular interaction with, or that I can see their progress from beginning to end, and I really do miss that quite a bit.”
Earlhagi J. Bradley, being the second candidate, had his session on Oct. 3. As the current Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students for Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, Bradley has worked in administrative roles in colleges and universities throughout the South and Midwest.
Bradley addressed the dynamic nature of the college student demographic. He believes that inclusion and diversity are both crucial components for new students.
“Students are constantly changing,” Bradley said. “We live in a constantly changing world. We have to know who it is that we are serving … We are in a time where our students expect that diversity and inclusion is going to be a part of their daily lives. We have to meet those needs.”
While discussing the differences between the roles of Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Bradley said that both jobs are very different, and often people in that position don’t understand that.
“Those are two very separate jobs, and often times people forget that,” Bradley said. “I’ve seen people come in with those titles and they’re so excited about being a Vice President for Student Affairs, they forget they are also a Dean of Students. A Dean of Students has to be present, they have to be out there.”