Wentworth has long prided itself on putting students first, and a reorganization within the Division of Student Affairs aims to make the student experience at the Institute even better. Effective this month, Student Affairs has created two new centers: the Center for Student Engagement (which brings together Campus Life, Commuter Student Services and New Student Programs) and the Center for Diversity and Social Justice. The latter will move into new physical space in the Flanagan Campus Center.
For Annamaria Wenner, dean of students and vice president for Student Affairs, “the student experience was the catalyst for the reorganization,” she says. “We recognized a few things that made us scratch our heads and ask ‘why?’”
Wenner cites, as one example, a student with questions regarding First-Year Seminar, public transportation passes, joining a club, and the Wentworth Leadership Institute. Under the old structure, the student would need to go to three different offices for answers. Now, that student would visit one office for all of these needs.
“We’re hoping that these changes will increase visibility with students and will improve our ability to help them,” says Jenn Kosses, assistant dean of students. “This is a great opportunity to offer more touch points in the student experience.”
Much thought was also given to the former Intercultural Center, which Student Affairs staff members believed to be too small to accommodate cultural club meetings and events. The new Center for Diversity and Social Justice will provide ample space for students to meet and socialize. Additionally, a new director and assistant director will oversee the center with future programming continuing to be developed. The existing Prayer/Meditation Room will remain in place.
“The Center for Diversity and Social Justice Programs will provide the Wentworth community with new opportunities to engage in meaningful dialogue through both formal and informal programming initiatives,” says Peter Fowler, associate dean of students.
Visibility and availability have always been characteristics valued strongly by the Student Affairs team, which includes Wenner, Kosses, Fowler, and Assistant to the Deans Jesse Correia. Despite the changes—and her recent promotion to vice president—Wenner says her staff’s campus involvement is by no means lessening.
“While I look forward to bringing the student voice to more meetings and having additional opportunities to speak on the student experience with other constituents, my day-to-day interactions with students will not change,” she says. “Being available and visible to students is the most important aspect of our jobs and it is what we love the most.”
Wentworth social media users are familiar with Wenner’s prowess on Twitter, and she promises to continue sharing “Dean Wenner Thoughts of the Day,” as well as answer student questions and offer encouragement. “Rest assured,” she says, “#deanlove isn’t going away!”
The Center for Diversity and Social Justice Programs and the Center for Student Engagement are hosting an open house on Tuesday, March 15 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Flanagan Campus Center. Food will be provided and attendees will have a chance to win prizes.
More information on Student Affairs, including links to services and resources, can be found on their web page. The deans can also be followed on Twitter @deanwenner, @deanpfowler, and @deankosses.