A search is now underway for a new assistant director of residential life. The job description for the position was changed in early October to emphasize facilities management rather than student personnell work.
This position will replace the two held last year by then-Director of the Office of Residential Services Harry Dawe and then-Assistant Director of Residential Services Mary Atkinson. Dawe and Atkinson's positions were eliminated due to downsizing within the department last semester, when $600,000 was trimmed from the Office of Residential Life and Service's budget.
Deb McNish, director of residential life, said she hopes an assistant dean can be found by the end of November. "There's no way we can do without the position another minute," McNish said. "We need another person [in Residential Life] badly." McNish said that Residential Life has been short of employees since last semester's downsizing. "We've been sweating it out trying to provide facilities' services," she said.
The new assistant dean position requires someone with experience in facilities maintenance. He or she will be responsible for the operation, maintenance, renovation and development of 23 residences and five dining halls and will prepare and implement a budget of around $12 million.
A job description was originally submited on July, 1, but later withdrawn and replaced with a new one on Oct. 1.
McNishwould not comment on why the description was changed. Cole-Newkirk was unavailable for comment on Thursday and Friday.
Though the position replaces two old ones, Dean of Student Life and Services Charlene Cole-Newkirk said, "It's a new position in that it never existed before, but I think it will better meet the needs of the office." She said the assistant dean will deal "with things like why buildings get cold - things as basic as how buildings run. It's a student life perspective as a consumer."
The original description required a masters level degree in student personnel work, an appropriate service-oriented professional degree, or equivalent experience and/or training. It also required a minimum of one-year experience in facility management at a residential college, excellent interpersonal skills, excellent communication skills, the ability to work sytematically, to supervise support staff and students and to respond flexibily to exceptional situations.
The new description does not require any secondary education, but a minimum of five years experience in facilities management at a residential college. It also requires demonstrated experience with budget preparation and maintenance, short and long-range planning, and physical plant operations or construction experience. Like the first description, the second also lists interpersonal skills, communication skills, an ability to work systematically, supervise staff and students and the ability to respond flexibly to exceptional situations.
McNish said she is in the process of putting together a search committee that includes students, members of the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association, faculty, buildings and grounds employees, custodial staff and dining employees. "I'm trying to get a diverse group [of people to serve on the committee]," McNish said, adding that she is struggling to find people to serve on the committee.
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 125, Number 8; November 8, 1996
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