Fetrow’s departure sparks search for new dean of students

The search is on.

After the departure of Vice President of Student Affairs  Dean of Students Aaron Fetrow, former Associate Dean of Students Jennifer Agor has been named interim dean and vice president and the College has put together a search committee to find a more permanent solution.

“We met initially in August to look at the job description as written by President Jane Fernandes,” said Andy Strickler, dean of admissions and financial aid administration and chair of the committee. “We made a couple of recommendations to her. The job has been posted and we are currently in the process of soliciting applications.”

As of Sept. 1, at least 10 applicants had submitted appplications  for the position.

“We’re going to start reviewing applications on or around Oct. 1, so we’ll see how things develop in the next three weeks,” said Strickler. “We want to keep the position open for at least a month and hope to have finalists on campus toward the end of this fall semester.”

The committee will host the finalists and then make a recommendation to Fernandes, after each finalist has visited the campus. Fernandes would then make a decision based on her interactions with the candidates and the committee’s thoughts.

The committee is made up of 10 people who represent different sections of the College, including the Bonner Program, Public Safety and both traditional and CCE student bodies.

“We’re looking for someone who is going to be a great fit for Guilford and gets this place, but different people have different ways of identifying that,” said Strickler. “That’s one of the challenges of this type of search, but it’s also one of the fun parts of the search.”

The online job listing cites several requirements, including “evidence of strong commitment to a student-centered philosophy and evidence of successful leadership in creating and maintaining programs that promotes student learning, student development, achievement, accountability, and empowerment.”

Committee members such as Assistant Academic Dean Erin Dell put it differently.

“We want someone who is interested in the well-being of students,” said Dell. “The success of our students is what we focus on in all aspects of Guilford.”

Brian Daniel ‘11, community director and residential life representative on the committee, emphasized that the dean of students needs to have the entire student body in mind.

“Someone in this position should be an inclusive and welcoming dean for all students,” said Daniel.

“I am personally looking for someone who would put students first, and is willing to create a stronger sense of community,” said sophomore José Oliva, community senate president and traditional student representative for the committee in an email interview. “We need someone who is dedicated and committed to the school.”

Aaron Fetrow had some advice to pass on to his successor.

“Someone said to me that ‘Guilford is kind of like a petri dish of student affairs.’ I wasn’t really sure what he meant by that when he said it,” said Fetrow. “So I asked him and he replied, ‘All I mean is that students bring in all unique and different ingredients and you just kind of see what happens.’ I thought that was really a good analogy for being the dean at Guilford.”