The University’s housing department plans to have a new director as early as November, if all goes well.
The housing department has been functioning under the leadership of Oscar Crumity, interim director, for almost a year.
“I’m looking for someone to really hit the ground running in November,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Patricia Green-Powell.
“We have made an offer, and we are in the negotiation stage.”
Green-Powell, along with Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Henry Kirby, reviewed recommendations made by a screening committee before making a decision.
Green-Powell said she did not wish to disclose any information on the favored applicant.
“I have to be really, really guarded … there’s a certain amount of privacy that I have to maintain,” she said.
Green-Powell said the position was advertised through the personnel department of the Office of Student Affairs, on the University’s Web site, in the “The Chronicle of Higher Education” and various other media outlets, including a national list serve that deals with housing.
“The list serve is a nationwide list of housing or student affairs professionals,” Green-Powell explained.
“Anytime there are questions or concerns regarding housing, housing directors or vice presidents are able to see what people are doing. We thought we’d put it out there to generate concerns,” she said.
As a result of advertising, some 30 people applied for the position, and the screening committee, which is comprised of campus representatives, housing staff and students, was assembled to narrow down the applicants.
“We always have students (on the committee),” Kirby said.
For students like Courtney Jenkins, who have concerns about housing, finding a director is quite necessary.
“Hopefully, with the new director, we can get our room assignments on time,” said Jenkins, 19, a freshman who resides in McGuinn Hall.
Jenkins said even though she signed up for housing at an early, she did not get the room assignment she requested.
Recent consolidation plans by the housing department also sparks concern.
“I can’t sit here today and tell you at the start of a new semester… with 100 percent accuracy that the possibility of consolidation will not be there,” Kirby said.
“It depends on who returns in the spring, how many seniors we have graduating [and] where those numbers and vacancies occur. As long as we have housing on this campus, we’ll always have a need for consolidation.”
Green-Powell said many of the applicants for the position of housing director lacked housing experience at a university level. Besides having housing experience, the University sought applicants with a master’s degree, five years of experience, strong management and writing skills, strong leadership abilities, and experience in the construction of new facilities.
“We knew that whomever we hired, we would be building new facilities because the new facilities are part of the University’s master plan.” Green-Powell said.
This master plan includes a 10-year housing study, approved by the Board of Trustees in April of 2004, and outlines for the next 10 years where new facilities will be built and which facilities will be renovated.
“Because we have a 10-year housing study that has the blessings of our University’s Board of Trustees, I really need somebody in here to take a look at that plan and be able to facilitate getting that plan started,” Green-Powell said.
The screening committee, which has seven people, interviewed the applicants before recommending the top four to be interviewed exclusively by Green-Powell. Green-Powell also mentioned most of the top applicants recommended by the committee were directors of housing at other universities, and she had to exercise caution before pursuing them.
“I wanted to make certain that the person I was going to make the offer to had already gotten [his or her] university settled for the fall. That’s why the month of September was a good time,” she said. “By now, everybody is settled in their place and a new director would gladly accept responsibility of moving to a different place.”
Crumity has been serving as interim director for about as long as the position has been vacant.
“Mr. Crumity did a really, really great job,” Green-Powell said. According to her, Crumity will go back to the position he held before becoming interim director, which was one of the assistant directors of housing.
Though the duties of the housing director include providing high quality and a high-level supervision for employees, Green-Powell said the point of this process “is to provide a safe, clean and healthy environment for students to live.”
Contact Kalifa Hickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org