Change in leadership to increase communication
September 23, 2005
The UW-River Falls Leadership Center is undergoing major changes to prepare for their move to the new Student Center set to open in January 2007. As of the current school year, the Leadership Center and Student Services transitioned from functioning separately to being combined, reporting to an Executive Director of Student Services & Programs position.
According to Mary Halada, Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance, the decision to combine all aspects of student life was the result of a brainstorm by all staff involved.
“Organizational wise,” said Halada, “for communication it would be more advantageous under one leadership.”
Under the wing of the new position are the departments and staff of Student Life Programming, Residence Life and Staff Development, Dining Services, Auxiliary Budgets and Contract Management, Student Life Facilities and the Hunt /Knowles Complex.
The new system of hierarchy will allow the departments to be “orchestrated to work together and meet each other’s needs,” said Gregg Heinselman, hired to fill the Director of Student Services & Programs position.
Making the change before the relocation will provide that “everyone will have a good sense of what their role is before the move,” said Halada.
Falling under the umbrella of duties for the Executive Director of Student Services & Programs is working directly with resident advisers and hall managers, providing leadership opportunities and workshops, and overseeing FredNet.
Heinselman has also been exploring options for all aspects of the new Student Union including lighting, space, and equipment. Also, new bidding will begin for dinning services on campus. Heinselman plans to obtain feedback from students as far as what will be offered to eat on campus through focus groups and online surveys, set to get underway sometime in October.
Student involvement in decisions for the new Student Union ranks high for Heinselman.
“It's vitally important we get that as right as we can,” he said.
Other changes which Heinselman will seek student opinion on are the banking facilities offered and also the makeup of the new the book store. Although Heinselman is foreign to River Falls, he has had experience with the UW system and also in transitioning student centers. Preparing him for his current position were nine years spent as the Director of Student Life at UW-Platteville, his position -- prior to coming to UW-RF -- as Duke University’s Director of Campus Life and University Centers and having a hand in opening a new student union as an undergraduate a Northern Arizona University. Of all the places Heinselman has worked, he was more than happy to return to the Midwest.
“It was a good fit for where I wanted to be,” he said. Also Heinselman felt he could have an immediate impact on the UW-RF campus in a position that will keep him challenged.
“I have a lot of respect for the UW system and the type of student that attends.”
Heinselman became the winning candidate because of his “breadth and depth of experience,” Halada said, also “his management style and successes he had at other campuses.”