The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Department of Student Affairs undergoes change

The Department of Student Affairs underwent a significant transformation over the summer particularly in the area of Campus Activities, reassigning some administrators to new positions and hiring several new ones.

“It wasn’t brought about by any problems,” Darren Morton, the newly minted Associate Dean of Student Life, said. “We did an assessment last year of Student Affairs and basically our operation and looking at our best models and benchmarking against comparative schools. It was time for us then to restructure.”

After the University assessment the department was renamed Student Affairs as opposed to Student Life.

“I think it’s been a shock to some of the students who have come back to realize that people have been shifted to other positions,” Morton said. “It takes some adjustment but they’ve been operating in their positions a little longer so they’ve made the smooth transition now.”

Mary Pelkowski, the former Director of Campus Activities, is now the Director of Leadership Development. Taking her place is Damien Duchamp, formerly the Associate Director of Student Activities at Indiana State University.

“It’s a better job, a better situation,” Duchamp said about his new position. “It’s a promotion from what I was doing and I just really wanted to do something different.”

Duchamp was a Greek advisor for seven years at Indiana State, and is a member of both Phi Beta Sigma Inc. and Sigma Beta Chi, a local fraternity, which he joined as an undergraduate at SUNY New Paltz.

In addition, Jodi Cox, who was the Assistant Director of Operations and Services at St. John’s, was hired as Associate Director of Campus Activities after a brief stint last year at Bronx Community College as Director of Campus Activities.

“It’s great to come back home,” Cox, who also studied at St. John’s as an undergraduate, said. “I love St. John’s so there is really nothing for me to complain about.”

Tim McClain, the Assistant Director of Campus Activities, will now handle residential programming according to Duchamp.

“Tim will work with resident groups and their programs, including the ‘Escape to New York’ program which will send students to Broadway shows, museums, and sporting events,” Duchamp said. “He’s going to work with our coffee house series which will bring small venue acoustic performances to campus.”

Jack Flynn, a former Assistant Director of Campus Activities has now been reassigned to Judicial Affairs where he will serve as Assistant Director.

Student Affairs is also hiring an Assistant Director of Campus Activities and two new coordinators, said Duchamp.

“I was brought in to develop a program and we have all the resources to serve commuters, residents and non-traditional students,” Duchamp said. “I plan to stay a while.”

Dr. Jose Rodriguez, formerly the Dean of Student Affairs, added Associate Vice President of Student Affairs to his title while Father James Maher continues as the interim Vice President.

Darren Morton and Jackie Lochrie are now the Associate Deans of Student Development and Student Services respectively.

“Now what we have is an organizational structure that lends to better synergy, better collaboration across departments, across entities within student affairs as well as entities external to student affairs,” Morton said.

According to Morton, all of the programming areas, including the Student Programming Board, the new Campus Activities Board, and Residence programming are now together.

“It creates a better opportunity for us to serve the students,” Morton said. “By putting people in new positions it has allowed us to have fresh eyes in areas that may have become stale.”

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