Message from the Vice President: DSA Staff Announcement

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Friday, October 16, 2020

The following message was sent to DSA staff by Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo on October 16, 2020.

Dear DSA Colleagues,

I am writing today to provide some staffing updates for the Division - both bittersweet and exciting. As you know, today is Dr. John Zacker’s last day as Assistant Vice President (AVP) for Student Affairs. Tomorrow, he begins his very well-deserved retirement after 32 years at the University of Maryland. For over three decades, John has been a beloved member of the second floor of the Mitchell Building - first in the Office of Judicial Programs (later Student Conduct) and now in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (OVPSA). His warm smile is reassuring, his dry wit keeps us laughing, and his apple pie is legendary. John will be sorely missed by generations of students, faculty and staff. Thanks so much for helping us celebrate John in our current COVID-world via your contributions to his memory book. We wish him all the best on his next adventure - and hope that it includes a lot of golf!

On November 2, Dr. Andrea Goodwin will begin her role as the Interim AVP for Student Affairs. In this position, she will supervise the directors of the Stamp Student Union, Fraternity & Sorority Life, University Career Center, and Parent & Family Affairs. She will also serve as Chair of the Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment (BETA) Team, supervising Maria Lonsbury who manages the work of BETA. I intend to begin a national search for a full-time AVP in the spring semester. Please join me in welcoming Andrea to OVPSA and the Vice President for Student Affairs Council.

While Andrea is serving as AVP, James Bond will become the Interim Director of Student Conduct. As the most senior staff member in that office, he will supervise the staff in the Office of Student Conduct and some of the work of the Office of Rights and Responsibilities in Resident Life. In addition, Keira Martone, Assistant Director of Resident Life for Rights and Responsibilities will be assigned the responsibility of all Title IX sexual assault cases for both Resident Life and Student Conduct. James and Keira will assume these roles while Andrea is serving as Interim AVP. 

When I began in this position just nine months ago, I talked at length about some organizational changes I hoped to make to the Division. In particular, I shared my vision for a Dean of Students (DOS) Office and a Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) for Student Affairs. As you may remember, I negotiated a DOS position as part of my hiring plan and will begin a search for this position next spring along with the AVP search. While I could have launched a search immediately for both the DOS and AVP positions, I knew this wasn’t the time. This pandemic, however, has underscored the need for the DOS office.

While I cannot launch a search for a Director of DEI right now due to funding, I want to continue to advance our work. As such, I am thrilled to announce that we are re-aligning existing resources to be able to move forward on some of these initiatives. Given the work of Conferences & Visitor Services (C&VS) has shifted in this pandemic, Malia Witherspoon, Assistant Director (of C&VS), who has been an active member with our Student Affairs Diversity Initiative (SADI) and has a commitment to this work, will be joining us as the inaugural Interim Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for a one year appointment. She will work closely with SADI, MICA, Student Success Initiative, and others in DSA engaged in this work. She will partner with others on campus to further the important coordination of work focusing on DEI efforts, however, Malia’s work will be focused on Student Affairs. She will help to make recommendations about a rightful structure for DEI work within Student Affairs in her interim capacity.

I am thrilled that both Malia Witherspoon and James Bond will be joining our Student Affairs Leadership Team (SALT), effective November 2.

As I have stated before, we must continue to find ways to create a hopeful future for our work in Student Affairs. While resources are limited, we must continue to advance work that supports our values and strategic direction. Please join me in congratulating John on his retirement and welcoming these terrific staff - Andrea, James, Keira and Malia - to their new roles. I know they will continue to contribute much to our division and university.

Have a beautiful weekend and stay well,

Patty Perillo, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

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