VP of Student Affairs & Dean of Students appointed

VP of Student Affairs & Dean of Students appointed

Juliet Magoon/Guilfordian

Meet Todd Clark.

Like many students returning from winter break, Clark woke up on Jan. 26 and began a new semester at Guilford College. For him, however, it was his first day as vice president for student affairs and dean of students.

“This type of position has been a professional dream of mine for a long time,” said Clark.

For the past few years, Clark has been the associate dean of students at Emory and Henry College, amassing a few more credentials along the way.

In 2013, he received the James E. Scott Outstanding Mid-Level Student Affairs Professional Award. Last year, he earned his doctorate in educational studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

His dissertation “The Impact of Urbanicity on Student Engagement at Small, Residential, Liberal Arts Colleges” includes data taken from Guilford.

“My job is to enable student success,” said Clark. “(Guilford) is a fantastic opportunity, in terms of campus and in terms of culture.”

First-year Ben Levin had dinner with Clark during his first week on campus. The two talked about family and Clark’s transition period.

“He’s worked all over the place,” said Levin, citing Clark’s previous job experience at colleges and universities. “He’s extremely personable. He knows colleges very, very well.

“I think he’ll do a great job at Guilford. He’s learning about the big issues and what makes Guilford tick.”

Others see possibility in Clark’s abilities.

“I see him as a very creative and open minded person, so I expect him to be thinking outside the box when supporting student growth,” said Project and Communications Manager for the Center for Principled Problem Solving Delilah White.

White met Clark while she earned her communications degree from Emory and Henry. Later, Clark served on a committee that oversaw White’s job interview with the college.

Clark replaces Aaron Fetrow, who now serves as the vice president of student affairs at Roanoke College. During the fall semester, Jennifer Agor served as the interim vice president at Guilford.

Fetrow was a prominent figure on campus, especially among students. One might find him to be tough act to follow.

“I think there’s absolutely pressure,” said sophomore Darion Bayles.

Bayles likened Clark’s arrival to that of President Jane Fernandes.

“Jane can’t be Kent (Chabotar),” said Bayles. “Todd can’t be Aaron.”

“It’s a privilege to follow Aaron,” Clark said, addressing Fetrow’s legacy. “But, I come from a similar cloth.”

At Emory and Henry, Clark was involved with many aspects of student culture, including an advisory position with the school’s Greek council. At Guilford, he understands students have other ways of engaging with the community.

Community involvement, he explained, is what makes students successful.

“Some of the most current research shows you it doesn’t matter what you choose as a major or where you come from,” said Clark. “Proper engagement, full engagement leads to student connections.”

Student engagement is just one of the puzzles Guilford looks to face this semester, along with retention and the ongoing Title IX investigation by the Department of Education. Amid these looming issues, administrative faces are changing.

“I think, in a lot of ways, our human values allow us to become complacent in our day-to-day,” said White. “And, I think Guilford is no different.”

In order to stave off the feeling of contentment, the School is trying new things and innovating itself. People on campus, likewise, are looking to the future.

“He’s a good new voice for the College,” said Levin.

After Clark’s hiring was announced, White received a text message from Emory and Henry’s Mass Communications Department Chair Teresa Keller.

“(Keller) said that we were taking one of (their) most cared for (family members) and for us to take good care of him here at Guilford,” said White. “My response to her was he is coming in on a wave of positive transformation, and we look forward to his dynamic contributions.”