By Cassandra Sottile
Elm Staff Writer
In addition to the 419 first year students this fall, several new staff and faculty members were brought on to campus. The new members range across a variety of departments, including Counseling Services, Intercultural Affairs, and others.
Daniel Forster, new vice president of enrollment, comes to WC from his previous position at Simmons College. Forster was drawn to the two unique financial aid programs at the College: Dam the Debt and George’s Brigade. The primary purpose of both of these programs is to decrease student debt while increasing access to resources. Dam the Debt is an initiative from President Sheila Bair and gives the unsubsidized portion of loans back to students to reduce the amount of debt they have incurred.
George’s Brigade, according to the WC website, “works with high-performing students whose families would otherwise not have the resources to pay for a private liberal arts education. Brigade members will have their full need met, including room and board. If students wish to borrow for incidental expenses, the program requires that they limit their loans to $2500 per year.” Students from the same schools or communities can apply together to help with the transition.
“These programs were very attractive to me because many students, especially first generation, face the questions of ‘Where am I going to college?’ and more importantly. ‘If I am going to college?’ These first generation students have no idea of where to start in the college application process; second and third generation students even struggle with it. George’s Brigade helps these students with applications while also helping them to create a cohort here and get stuck to our microcosm,” Forster said.
Student Engagement has brought in an Assistant Director, Alexis Heppler. Heppler completed her undergraduate work at Susquehanna University, then earned her master’s degree from University of West Florida. Heppler will be working with Director of Student Life
Nick Spicer to provide oversight for certain areas of student life including Student Events Board, Greek Life, Community Service, OSE interns, and Hodson Student Center.
Heppler said, “I believe the holistic growth and development of students is the highest calling of leadership. The College’s mission to challenge and inspire students to help them discover lives of purpose and passion is the definition of Student Engagement.”
The Office of Intercultural Affairs brought in Tya Pope, who is passionate about diversity and inclusion issues. Pope previously worked at the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington, Del., which prepared her to work with individuals of various backgrounds.
“We need exposure to different ways of thinking and life. It isn’t about living in a bubble anymore, now everyone must live in a bigger community. The idea of what diversity means must be challenged and we must broaden the conversation, not just about diversity, but about difficult topics like racial tensions that are not easy to have,” Pope said.
A possible way to achieve this is to hold discussion workshops to turn anger and sadness into positive work for community and campus. Additionally, the Safe Space Training might be revived, with the chance of a speaker coming to campus sometime in November.
Dr. Candace Wannamaker joined Student Affairs to serve as Assistant vice president and Title IX coordinator. Dr. Wannamaker is tasked in helping to ensure that every person at WC is aware of their legal rights under Title IX. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs and activities. Additionally, it states that no person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. As AVP, Dr. Wannamaker helps with management of departments like the Peer Mentor program. She said that she hopes to bring collaborative ideas to the program that will challenge the Peer Mentors to grow and develop as strong leaders and be able to pass those skills on to their first year mentees.
In Counseling Services, the College has brought on John Fuller, who previously worked at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Fuller was attracted to the College due to its core values of integrity, determination, curiosity, civility, leadership, and moral courage that resonates with his own. During his time at Walter Reed, Fuller provided mental health services in a specialized clinic for active duty members who were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Fuller was also a part of the merger between Walter Reed and the Navy hospital that enabled him to create Resiliency and Psychological Health, a new program that teaches coping skills and improves existing skills to maximize a person’s ability to bounce back from mental trauma.
“Our general thought was that if we catch individuals early enough and provide them with improved coping skills, we can help them before they feel overwhelmed and defeated,” Fuller said.
with active duty military members, Fuller largely worked with members of a similar age range and diverse backgrounds.
“I made the transition from private practice to college counseling services because I was not happy with the seclusion that came with private practice. I am most happy professionally when I have a challenging and diverse caseload,” he said.
The Center for Career Development (CCD) has brought on Scott Renauro, formerly an assistant baseball coach at the College. Mr. Renauro moved from Pennsylvania to Delaware looking for a new coaching position, which WC provided while allowing him to continue schooling.
“I was drawn to the CCD after I learned how important it is to the College. I began sending all of my recruits to the Career Center staff since they did a phenomenal job marketing the resources that WC offers. Even though I am working at the CCD now, I am still able to volunteer my extra time on the baseball field to fulfill my coaching itch,” Renauro said.
Renauro holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management, and a master’s degree in sports management. “My master’s in sport management gave me the sports topic that I enjoyed while also furthering my knowledge in business and management. Although, working as the office manager and coordinator at the CCD does not completely align with a sport’s management degree, the knowledge gained from the schooling and experience with working with students in higher education has helped greatly,” he said.