Dewey’s doin’ the dance

It’s not exactly musical chairs, but it’s close. A Dewey shuffle is underway, but music has nothing to do with it. The changes seem to be determined by evolving program needs.

The Office of First Year Experience moved down the hall on March 18, making room for the new positions that the Title III grant has allowed NVU-Johnson to create.

The move has given First-Year Experience a bigger area in which to help students. The waiting room, where you can still find free snacks, has become a wider space that allows students to gather there throughout the day. The actual offices that those who work for First-Year Experience have been improved as well.

“What’s not to like? The natural light is great,” said Director of First-Year Experience Margo Warden. “It’s really conducive to keeping a great level of energy for work. The size is really nice. I can have students and co-workers come in and we can have a one-on-one conversation or smaller group meetings all behind closed doors.”

Overall, the feelings within the First-Year staff have been optimistic. While there had been some doubts and anxieties coming with the change of offices, it thus far seems to have worked for the best.
“I’m excited actually,” said Warden. “I was a little bit nervous at first, because our old First-Year Experience Office had what we call the fishbowl, which is all that glass. It was easy. As students walked by, they could decide if they were going to come in or if we saw somebody we wanted to chat with, we could give a little shout. We thought we were really going to miss that, but this feels really good. We really are connected now.”

The new First-Year Office connects straight into the advising offices by a small hallway, which connects further into the old First-Year Office, now occupied by the newest advising position that is filled by Brady Rainville, academic and study away advisor.

In addition to the Office of First-Year Experience moving down the office row, the offices of Beth Walsh and Ellen Hill, will be moving into First Year Experience’s old space. Walsh and Hill’s offices will be the new Career and Internship Center.

The space vacated by the Career and Internship Center will be filled by Kathleen Brinegar, associate academic dean, along with a director of student persistence and engagement, a new position funded by the Title III grant that has not been filled yet.

“My current position is a split position—associate academic dean and associate professor of education,” said Brinegar. “In the latter position, I utilize my office in McClelland to meet with students, advisees, EDU colleagues and I also teach my courses in McClelland. In my position as associate academic dean, I oversee and collaborate with many of the offices in Dewey. In addition, much of the Title III work that I project manage happens in Dewey. Thus, having an office in Dewey will allow me to work more closely with the different offices there.”

Brinegar will continue to use her office in McClelland and plans on finding the right balance between being in Dewey and McClelland to best help the students, faculty and staff with whom she works.

“This recent set of moves in Dewey is coming from a desire to have a more one-stop service model for students,” said Brinegar. “The goal is to have advising, first-year experience, and the career and internship services in one space, allowing them to collaborate more to meet student needs.

“Every office in the advising, first-year experience, and the career & internship services space will be filled by someone who directly serves students. This way a student can walk through any door in that space and find folks who can answer their questions, suggest the best person to talk to meet their needs, etc. Because the doors are all open now in between the offices, staff are able to collaborate more to find ways to best support students…The new arrangement also creates space for us to conceptualize a sophomore experience akin to the current first-year experience, which many of us agree would greatly benefit students.”