Jessica Joanis has transitioned into a new position created this year: assistant dean of students. Responsibilities include conference services, working with the Onecard office, parking, and campus security and safety.
With this new position comes new changes and ideas. Jessica has opened her office as a “one-stop-shop” for solutions to issues students may run into. Problems concerning Onecards, laundry, Rally Dollars, parking, and security can be answered with a quick stop to Jessica’s new office located in Harwood Memorial Union next to MLK Lounge.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes made to campus security and safety is where security will be located. Moving from the Quads, the security office now will be housed in the Kemper Computer Center. Jessica stated the move was a result of many factors. Kemper now provides campus security with quick access to their vehicles without parking in the Quad circle, a larger space to work in, and a way to keep the Kemper Computer Center completely secured more often.
The Per Mar security officers will still have a presence on campus. “Students should interact and feel comfortable asking questions,” Jessica stated. “A security officer can ask a student to stop violating college policy just as easily as member of the residence life could.”
Escorts – security giving rides to students around campus – also have been changed to a need only basis. “It’s not really an effective use of their resources for the time that they’re here,” said Jessica. “Sometimes the unnecessary escorts don’t need to take place if we can avoid it.” Cutting back on student escorts that are not serious will provide campus security with more time to ensure buildings and our campus are secure.
Finally, parking appeals no longer will be heard through the motor vehicle committee. Instead, appeals concerning student parking will go through the Student Judiciary Board.
Mark Nicklaus, the new director of residence life, also has made some changes to the residence life system. Having professional experience in college residence life from the University of North Dakota, Mark brings new ideas as to how the campus operates in regard to how we live.
Mark stated he wants more responsibilities for the resident assistants. “RAs are taking on a stronger role in addressing situations. Hall directors are more of like the back up for the RAs.” Having more direct ties with their halls, compared to a professional residence life member, RAs can have more discretion on whether if they want to get higher authorities involved.
Mark also has implemented new ways to build a stronger community in our residence halls. RAs are equipped with a jack of all trades-type of thinking. Students are encouraged by him to visit with their RA’s for assistance or direction to other campus resources.
Additionally, a major change in Residence Life’s programming is being revolved around community building through a “do better, learn better, and be better” model. Programming for students now will be constructed with more quality in mind. “My main goal here is to make sure that there is a safe, fun, inviting community outside of the academic classrooms,” Mark said.
With a staff of 34 student residence life staff members, Mark has equipped resident assistants with the mentality of ensuring that all residents’ voices are heard, community safety and security is in place, and a sense of inclusion is on the floor.