A pending retirement in Student Affairs has created an opportunity for the division to reassess how it will deliver services and meet the critical needs of students.
According to Rob Sauders, PhD, the vice president for Student Affairs, the structure changes come about in conjunction with the news that longtime Eastern employee Gini Hinch will retire at the end of February. Hinch has dedicated 20 years of service to the students of EWU, most recently as associate vice president for Student Services and executive director for Career Development.
“Through Gini’s leadership, the Career Center has developed a robust complement of services that has helped current and past students prepare for, apply to and successfully receive employment offers related to their fields of study, interests or passions,” says Sauders.
After seeking input from partners across campus, Sauders says the following organization changes will be implemented in Student Affairs beginning Mar. 1.
Rather than replacing Hinch, Sauders has named Nick Franco, PhD, interim associate vice president of Student Equity, Belonging and Voice. Reporting directly to the vice president for Student Affairs, this position will provide strategic leadership in fostering community, equity, and a sense of belonging and voice for EWU students. Franco will collaborate with partners across campus to address systemic inequities experienced by students, promote the ongoing inclusion and retention of historically underrepresented and diverse student groups on campus, build a sense of belonging among EWU students, and partner with university stakeholders to empower student voices.
“I’m so excited to continue serving the university in this role,” says Franco. “This new unit will be critical to meeting the needs of underrepresented students, strengthening collaboration between the reporting units, and helping the university in living out its values of diversity and inclusion.”
Franco, who was the first full-time professional staff person in the EWU Pride Center, has served on many equity-related university committees and task forces, including the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.
The associate vice president for Student Equity, Belonging, and Voice will also oversee the Adult and Lifelong Learner Resource Center, Global Student Services, Multicultural Center, Pride Center, Veterans Resource Center, Associated Students of Eastern Washington University (ASEWU), and the student newspaper, The Easterner.
The alignment is designed to not only address historic gaps of focused student services within the division, but also better position the division to continue complementing the work of the Office for Diversity & Inclusion.
“I am extremely pleased to see enhanced commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion across the campus,” says Shari Clarke, PhD, the vice president for diversity and senior diversity officer for the Office for Diversity & Inclusion. “Students will be well served with the addition of this new position.”
During the interim period, the Multicultural and Pride Center will be led by Vanessa Delgado, the current director of the Multicultural Center. And Nate Bryant will serve as the interim director of the Career Center—reporting directly to the associate vice president for Campus Life, Josh Ashcroft.