Student services office changing name of key position
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Student services office changing name of key position

The former assistant dean of student service services position is up for hire.

This position has been open since Deborah Dodge left earlier this semester. The new job description will focus on student conduct, whereas the former position emphasized student rights and responsibilities (SRR).

John Howe, associate dean of students, said the position is up for a national search, which had an application period of over a month. In the meantime, Howe took most of the responsibility of the position.

“I provided the most direct oversight for the office and basically took over the behind-the-scenes components,” Howe said. “We have a computer system called Maxient which is our database and repository for conduct issues on campus. I became the lead manager of that and what largely means is anything that drops or is referred to the office comes into that system.”

Howe said he has been getting help from one graduate assistant to deal with the workload.

“Our graduate assistant is phenomenal, currently a law school student here. (His name is) Austin Printz, and has really worked under the previous leadership of SRR for over a year,” Howe said. “He is just remarkably solid, is the former police officer, current law student and has taken the brunt of the caseload.”

Printz said there needed to be a balance between enforcing USD policy and educating students to prevent future violations. Howe said what he’s looking for in a candidate is one that ensures conduct is proper on a university campus.

“We need someone who can be a touchstone for students to ensure that they are aware of rights and their process that they can ask questions about board policy, that they can ask questions about university policy,” Howe said.

In an email interview with The Volante, Printz said the experience has been rewarding.

“It has been an overall great experience,” Printz said. “While transition periods are inherently difficult, I feel like we have done the best that could be expected. Working for UPD, I was familiar with SRR and the unique role the office plays here on campus. When Deborah Dodge departed USD, I began seeing all of the conduct cases, while Dr. Howe and Dr. Grieve handled cases such as academic misconduct.”

Each case can be different and Printz said tries to advocate for students along the process.

“I try to approach each case as a learning experience for the student. I explain the policy to the student, and try to have a conversation with that student as for how and why their conduct violated USD Policy,” Printz said. “Students make mistakes. I do not believe that those mistakes define the person overall, nor does it shape their academic career here at USD. By having a conversation with the student, instead of just telling them what they did wrong, goes a long way.”

Josh Anderson, senior business administration and political science double major and student life assistant at the Dean of Students office, said the transition from Dodge to Howe taking over responsibilities has been smooth.

“I think they’ve made a pretty seamless transition. I don’t think a lot of the students would have noticed a real difference other than who their email is coming from or who they will end up a meeting with,” Anderson said. “I think a lot of its been able to stay really consistent, and I think that’s important for the conduct process.”

Anderson said Kim Grieve and Howe work together to achieve common goals, especially when it comes to student interests.

“They’ve always really worked really well together. I think they click really well, it’s an understanding of the shared responsibilities,” Anderson said. “It’s really fluid for what they undertake for one another for the roles.”

Anderson said he is looking for someone to take on the position that has student conduct as a priority.

“I think we need to have someone in the position that really looks at the student conduct process as a learning opportunity for students,” Anderson said. “Yes, it’s a violation of the code of conduct and it should be taken seriously but this is a stage in your life where you’re at college where you’re bound to make mistakes, lapses in judgment. Who you’re meeting with and having that conversation with needs to approach it that way as a building moment.”