By Kristi Horn, Winning Dean
Have you ever wondered what deans do, exactly? We know we have one of those mystery jobs that"s hard to explain. When people ask me what a dean does, my eyes glaze over, my mind starts spinning, and I start stuttering as I try to find an answer. If you"ve ever wondered what we do, humor me a minute, and I'll try to explain.
We"ll start with spring quarter since this is the quarter that makes us shake our heads and wonder why we chose to do what we do. The madness starts when we begin planning the upcoming school year, which looks like this: First, interview and hire resident assistants and desk receptionists for the fall. Next, get the ball rolling for room assignments: What's the best room in the best dorm and who's the best roommate? Then, collect data for next year: Who's returning, who's transferring, who's going to be an SM or study abroad? Also, plan RA and staff orientation for next fall. Next, prepare for summer-time fun by gearing up for summer guest housing and groups, setting up rooms for teachers coming to take summer classes, collecting information from students about who's staying for the summer, how long, and who"s rooming with whom, and finally, interviewing and hiring summer staff.
Then comes the joy of graduation, which can bring us to our knees and make us cry ourselves to sleep. First, we gear up for the mad rush of students packing up, moving out, checking out, returning keys and saying goodbye to their friends. Next, we divide our staff into cleaning crews and they spend countless hours scouring the dorms, tackling piles of trash and getting every dorm room ready for graduation guests to occupy. Then, the families arrive and start checking in and hauling luggage around, always with that deer-in-the-headlights look plastered on their faces.
All the while, we"re running up and down and in and out of the dorms, making sure everything is ready for the weekend, feeding our hungry staff and meeting teary-eyed parents who can't believe their baby is graduating. And all the while, we know that this is only the beginning, because when graduation ends on Sunday, we get to start all over again: checking families out of their rooms, helping graduates move out and check out, cleaning all those rooms all over again, running around, making sure rooms are ready for summer students to move into and summer guests to occupy, saying goodbye to the seniors and assuring their parents that it won't be that bad having Bobby or Suzie move back home again. Then we crawl into bed Sunday evening, stunned that we pulled it off, and we shake our heads in bewilderment, wondering why we chose to do what we do.
Of course, all of this takes place on top of the daily grind of residence life, which includes, but is not limited to, coordinating desk schedules, dorm socials, worships and open houses; working with teachers, counselors, the TLC and Student Services to meet student needs; and acting as life coaches and cheerleaders as the students face tough decisions, college pressures, roommate, parental and other relationship issues, depression, anxiety, and oh yeah, the Rebellion Against Parents stage of life (oh, the many secrets we know and the countless mystery tattoos and piercings we"ve seen!). Today alone describes a typical day in the dorm, when I had a student in my office meeting with Public Safety and a deputy sheriff about safety concerns, while in the lobby there was another student who needed to get to the ER for diabetic complications. We also get to deal with fire alarms, maintenance issues, middle-of-the-night emergencies, parents who seem to think we know where their child is at all times, and oh yeah, retention, retention, retention!
Next, we get to eat, sleep, smile and make time for our families. And last, but not least, we spend some fun time with our students, and whether its Sauna Therapy, knitting groups, feeding the masses or hanging with the Greys Groupies, we know that this is why we chose to do what we do.
VBS was a bigger-than-usual event this year with about 140 kids in attendance and 60 helpers! Keith Neergaard (business), Susan Bussell (nursing), Robert Ordoņez (computer science), Cesar Garcia (plant services), and Bev Helmer (girls dean) were some of the PUC faces spotted among the crowd (along with the church staff, of course), as well as a couple current students and recent grads.
This month (and half of September), Janet Borisevich Mezenov is in Russia on several missions. She's visiting her relatives in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia, once again, this time to see the new Borisevich clan member named after Janet's father, Sergey. She's teaching at the Archangelsk State Technical University, polishing the English skills of professors and graduate students. She's havingprivate tutoring in Russian by one of the University's professors. And she's continuing her data collection for research on the Linguistic Features of Physician-Patient Communication in Northwest Russia.
Vola Andrianarijaona recently retuned from the ICPEAC (International Conference on Photonic, Electronic, and Atomic Collisions), held this year in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he and his collaborators did a poster session. He was also invited to give a talk on the 24th of July.
Gilbert Abella (library) and Richard Gore (housing) just returned from the PUC Mission trip to Mozambique, Africa. Richard was the Construction Supervisor and Gilbert was the Spiritual Leader with a team of ten PUC and PUC Church people including two PUC college students, with Suzie Fox (retired Dining Commons director) as the Team Leader. They built a church and held VBS and offered health talks and provided the first Sabbath Service in the new church for the village of Xai Xai.
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