By Melissa Prentice
Arizona Daily Wildcat
It won't be "out with the old and in with the new" for the department of student programs.
Interim Student Programs Director Dan Maxwell was chosen from three finalists yesterday to permanently fill the department's top position, which he has held for the past eight months.
"I think I have a good track record ... and I want to keep going with that momentum," Maxwell said. "I am very honored and excited about some of the opportunities and I am ready to move forward and start stabilizing the rest of the staff and our budget."
About 50 candidates applied for the position, which pays about $45,000 per year and has been open since Carol Thompson became associate dean of students in June 1993. Other finalists for the position were Gayle Spencer, the assistant director of student activities at the University of Notre Dame, and Tom Jackson, the director of student activities at the University of Texas-El Paso. The job includes overseeing student government, the University Activities Board, the Residence Hall Association, KAMP student radio, Family Weekend and the Center for Off-Campus Students.
Maxwell said his ability to interact with various types of people and to "see the big picture" will help him do his job better.
"It is easy for me to be in a group of people either with many similar things or not a lot of similar things and be able to find some commonalities and move on," he said.
Thompson, who was in charge of filling the position, said she was very impressed with Maxwell's "great vision for a student life co-curriculum," which includes plans to integrate campus involvement and leadership among various campus groups.
Interim directors do not automatically have better odds at securing permanent positions, but must compete and be the most qualified candidate, she said.
Student volunteers who work in the department said they have gained respect for Maxwell and think his familiarity with the department will make him a good director.
"He already knows the routine and knows most of us (students)," said Jocelyn Nelms, a nursing freshman and Project Volunteer member.
Chrissy Eagan, the vice president of the University Activities Board, said she agrees. "He's energetic and brings a lot of personality into the department. We are glad it is him and not someone new."
Maxwell, who officially starts his new position Monday, said his goals include meeting the needs of various types of students, like non-traditional students and on- and off-campus students; using creativity to deal with programs with very limited budgets; mid
getting as many students as possible involved and encouraging the students and staff to form cooperative relationships with other departments.
He said the best parts of the job are the daily contact with students and the opportunity to be involved "hands-on" with event planning.
"I get recharged every day when I am working with students who are excited about a project they are working on," he said.
Students and staff in the department were asked to meet with the four finalists and submit their opinions before the final decision was made. Thompson said all the opinions were read and considered in the decision.
"The feedback was very helpful," she said. "We got a lot of great feedback about all the candidates and about the general direction the department should go in."
The students said they were glad to be able to have input in the process, even if their opinions were not a major factor in the decision.
"It was a great opportunity for students to get their voices heard," Elms said.
"I don't think the students had a big role," said Jennifer Michaels, a microbiology freshman and the department liaison for the Residence Hall Association. She said she was impressed that the various candidates answered the students questions and even asked for student input.
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