by Andres Felix Romero
Originally printed March 22, 2023
Prospective Dean of Students candidates made their intentions heard through forums and Q+A sessions held on March 7 and March 8.
One candidate, Ryan Griswold, was recently the Dean of California Maritime Academy, leaving the position in July 2022.
Griswold expresses a passion for working with students across institutions, especially at Cal Poly Humboldt.
“In terms of connections with the student population, I’m not going to say that this is different for me than a lot of institutions, because my passion for working with students really is universal. That’s not to say that the population isn’t different here,” Griswold said. “Every campus has its own demographics.”
Griswold recounted a story about a previous institution he worked at, where he and student volunteers came together to help students around finals using what he says is his love language: food.
“I have this tradition wherever I work, I like to find a way to incorporate food into things. We would get one of the industrial kitchens on campus, and we would bake banana bread for six, eight, or nine hours,” Griswold said. “Then we would take 200 loaves of banana bread and give it out to students at about 11 o’clock around finals.”
Other candidate Micah Mitchell is currently the Assistant Dean of Students and Case manager for Winston Salem State University.
Mitchell emphasized that to build that relationship, faculty must listen to student voices to understand how they are impacted by admin decisions.
“[Myself and other leadership are] doing stuff, we’re changing stuff, and trying to support stuff,” Mitchell said. “But if I’m not knowledgeable of what [the students] are going through, it’s gonna be hard for me to effectively support you.”
Mitchell also showed concern over the impending growth of the student population, and if campus resources can match the needs of those students. He is also conscious of overloading the current staff with the stress of supporting more students.
“The growth is great,” Mitchell said. “But going too fast is dangerous. Do we have the institutional support to support the changes? Because if not, we’ll have this influx of students, then have an influx over the inability and strain our system. So how can we grow and sustain and maintain at the same time…we can’t expect the same staff to expand and do more work with regard to doing that. So I think it’s about…people getting the resources and figuring out how we can successfully support the growth.”
Student and Indian Tribal and Educational Personnel Program (ITEPP) representative Mazacuauhtli Burrola wants whichever candidate that gets the job to integrate themselves into the campus community. Burrola wants to see this through the future DOS being open with their communication; by setting up methods to hear student voices such as dropboxes and a phone number to the dean of students publicly displayed on campus.
“You want to be our DOS, then you better move into my fricking house,” Burrola said. “You better be standing there in the quad. This is not a game. Our lives are at stake here, our futures.”