Committee seeks new office director

By Stephanie Szuda

The Student Involvement and Leadership Development Office is looking for a new director to take the office in a new direction, Recreation Services Director John Sweeney said.

“We want the office to be a warm and friendly place,” Sweeney said.

The search committee reviewed about 60 applications, Sweeney said. The committee is looking for candidates who have proactive leadership skills, who set goals and achieve them, Sweeney said.

The interview process spans a day and a half of meeting with student groups and faculty, said Michael Coakley, assistant vice president for Student Life. During that time, each candidate will have an open forum where he or she will give a presentation, and students and faculty will have a chance to ask questions.

Candidate Angela Dreessen gave her public presentation Monday in the Campus Life Building.

After her presentation, about a dozen faculty and students asked Dreessen various questions about her thoughts on the office and NIU in general. Some topics brought up were about academic and personal success, the social event policy, campus alcohol education, non-traditional students and her thoughts about NIU being a “suitcase campus.”

The last question a student asked was what changes the university will see a year from now if Dreessen gets the position.

“You’ll see students in this building,” Dreessen said. “It’s not a place just to stamp your fliers. It’s the CLB that doesn’t have life.”

She also touched base on her thoughts about the Campus Activities Board, the Student Association, Greek affairs and leadership development/volunteerism.

Throughout the presentation, Dreessen stressed the importance of communication with all groups and offices in the Campus Life Building. She discussed communicating with non-traditional students about their needs, talking to students about what they want to see on campus and providing more social outlets and communicating with all student groups to help them grow financially.

After each of the four candidates has visited NIU, the search committee of eight people will give Coakley two to three recommendations, Coakley said. He will check references and look at the credentials. The committee hopes to have someone in place by July 1, Coakley said.

The other three candidates are Christine Hansen, Darrell Ray and Dwaun Warmack. Their forums take place this week and next week.

Warmack is currently the associate director for programs at Western Carolina University, where he serves on a leadership development team.

Ray is the director of student development at The Art Institute of Atlanta. He supervises the Department of Housing and Residence Life and all operations and supervises student activities.

Hansen is the student leadership & development director at California State University, where she collaborates with the service learning director to support involvement of student organization, members and leadership education participants.

The last director, Rick Clark, left in December, Coakley said. Clark is now director of campus relations at NIU. Michelle Bringas has been the acting director of the student involvement and leadership development since Clark’s departure.