Meet your deans

Student government hosts first dean meet and greet

In hopes of encouraging students to form relationships with their college deans, Student Government hosted its first ever Meet and Greet with deans from around campus last Tuesday. The Meet and Greet is expected to become an annual event.

“Everyone should know who their dean is just because if you have any questions or any concerns about your college, you can directly go to your dean,” said Harmin Gill, junior nursing and psychology major who is on the Internal Assessment Division for Student Government. “Having a good relationship with your dean is always important, in my opinion.”

Christopher Cimko, senior health care systems administration and health information management major and Senator to Student Government for the College of Health Professions, was the coordinator of the Meet and Greet event. Along with the rest of the Internal Assessment Division, he was responsible for contacting all of the deans involved and planning and advertising the event.

“A senator [for Student Government] pretty much is a student that represents a college,” Cimko said before the event.

“Per the student guidelines and bylaws in our constitution, each senator is required to have a meet and greet social event for students to meet with the dean of their college to learn more about their college, what the dean does, what programs there are. It’s an informational session for students to meet with their dean. Every senator has to do this every semester. It’s a requirement of being in Student Government, but this year the executive board decided to do a campus-wide event, so it’s the first semester we’re doing that.”

Every college on campus was represented at the event. A few deans who were unable to attend, such as David Nicol of the College of Business, were able to send in substitutes in his place. The event was also attended by President Eisler and Associate Provost Paul Blake.

“I really think that [this event] is a great way for students to connect and get the reference they need,” said Jamie Klinger, junior business administration major and student worker at FLITE. “I know that Dean Garrison is here from the library and it’s a really great opportunity for students actually to interact with him, because they don’t see him during the day, which is unfortunate.”

Scott Garrison, Dean of FLITE, is one of the few deans whose job caters towards students of all majors, not just a specific college. FLITE is a valuable resource for students to study and gain information they need for their classes.

“When Chris invited me to participate, I wanted to be here to be able to answer questions that students have about the library, hear any concerns they might have,” Garrison said. “Any time I get a chance to meet a student, I also want to ask them questions about how the library could be better and serve them better. I think [this event] is wonderful. It’s great to see so much interaction going on between students and deans from all across the university. It’s nice, too, that we have deans that are not just from the academic colleges, but we also have Dean Wright from Student Life, we have Dean Salomonson from Student Enrollment Services. It’s just a great event and I hope it grows year after year.”

“What we like to say is [that] in enrollment services, we’re the first point of contact for students and we’re one of the last offices involved in waving goodbye,” said Kristen Salomonson, Dean of Student Enrollment. “We take applications through admissions, we process financial aid, we’re the Registrar’s office, we have the Communication Center which answers all of the inbound calls for the university, and we also do institutional research and assessment services and then we end up with commencement at the final end. As soon as you walk into Ferris, you’re greeting some form of the enrollment services staff, and we’re there during your final day when you’re getting your cap and gown, so it’s pretty cool.”

Salomonson sees a connection between her work and that of Leroy Wright, Dean of Student Life. She said they both have the highest priority of putting students first.

“I think for me, as Dean of Student Life, the biggest part of my role is to focus on developing a happy, healthy student leader on campus,” Wright said, “so that encompasses working with all the Student Life departments to encourage student involvement. I think from a service perspective, my goal is to listen to students, understand what student issues are, understand what student concerns are and work with different departments and different divisions to make sure that the student voice is heard [and] make sure that student needs are being met.”

Cimko had a raffle planned for the event, which had to be cancelled due to small attendance. Students would have received a raffle ticket from each dean they visited as incentive to meet with all of the deans and increase their chances of winning a prize. Student Government ended up handing out the prizes to students.

“I think that it’s a good turnout,” Klinger said. “I’m disappointed that it wasn’t more students that came out, because there was a campus-wide e-mail, but I don’t think students feel that it’s as important as it really is.”

“It’s a first-year event, so I guess it was kind of good for a first-year event,” Gill said. Student Government is optimistic about larger attendance in the years to come.