Summer restructuring of campus offices to promote communication

An e-mail sent out to the student body on Friday afternoon offered a comprehensive look at which administrative offices will be relocating over the summer months. Vice President for Operations Steve Klass detailed the movements of a number of campus offices and departments, including the Office of Career Counseling (OCC), the Office of Financial Aid, the Office of Communications and the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives. A number of offices within Hopkins Hall will be rearranged as well to allow for more logical configurations, especially in light of the recent administration realignment, which will yield two new positions, vice president for campus life and vice president for finance and administration.

Hopkins Hall
rearrangement

According to Klass, many of the movements within Hopkins Hall will be fairly simple and straightforward. Rearrangements are geared towards putting specific offices together, specifically in terms of the top three floors.
Starting in July, the first floor of Hopkins Hall will house the Office of Financial Aid. “[The move] will start to happen around July because there’s a very small window … for Financial Aid when they don’t have people coming in to visit [and] they don’t need to have access to all their files,” Klass said. “So there are a few days in July where they can make that happen.”
Klass and his new team will then move to the second floor this summer once Klass takes on the new role of vice president for campus life. “I’m hiring two positions: I’m going to have an executive assistant and a deputy who will kind of be my chief of staff … in my new role as VP of campus life,” he explained. “So the three of us will move up into the space vacated by Financial Aid.”
Director of Writing Programs Stephanie Dunson and the office of the associate dean for institutional diversity, a position currently held by Professor Carmen Whalen of the history department, will also relocate to the second floor. The Fellowships Office, currently  located on the second floor, will shift across the hall.
“Steve and I will be working closely on many campus pieces, especially community life and residential life,” Dean Bolton said. “Students’ lives are so busy, so having Klass right down the hall will be a meaningful change.”
Bolton also commented on Dunson’s move to the second floor: “The writing coordinator helps faculty think about integrating various kinds of writing into their courses,” she said. “[Moving] will help with her connections to that work.”

“Basically, the whole point of it is to have a floor that’s related specifically to student life,” Klass said. “That’s sort of just to give a place where you’ve got that synergy of people working together, supporting student life inside and outside the classroom.”
Bolton echoed Klass’s sentiments regarding the reorganization. “Students often ask how they know where to go if they have a particular concern,” she said. “For most things, students will still come to the deans’ office, which is like the one-stop shopping spot for students. But for some kinds of things, it will be really helpful to have Steve and those who work with him very close by.”
The vice president for finance and administration, the other new position created by the realignment of the senior administration, will be housed on the third floor of Hopkins Hall come July. The office for this position will be housed near the offices of President Falk, incoming Provost Will Dudley, Vice President of Institutional Planning and Diversity Mike Reed and Assistant to the President for Public Affairs Jim Kolesar.
“That gets that whole group of people who think about the priorities of the institution all together,” Klass said.
No one has yet been hired to fill the vice president for finance and administration position, though the search is nearly concluded, according to Klass. Kolesar agreed, stating that “the search is in its final stages,” and that decisions could be made within a matter of days.
While small construction projects will be necessary to reconfigure the second and third floors of Hopkins Hall to accommodate these new arrangements, no extensive or structural construction will take place.

Zilkha Center

The Zilkha Center will be joining the Center for Environmental Studies (CES) in Harper House temporarily, until the moving of Kellogg House is complete. When Kellogg House has been moved and readied, both departments will entirely move into that facility. The Zilkha Center is moving July 1 to accommodate the move of the Office of Financial Aid to the current offices of the Zilkha Center and the vice president for operations.
Putting the CES and the Zilkha Center together “makes a lot of both pedagogical and organizational sense, to have them working together and be co-located,” according to Klass.

Office of Communications

The Office of Communications will soon be housed in a reconfigured set of offices on the fourth floor of Hopkins Hall pending the completion of construction to optimize the space for the department’s work, according to Klass.
“[Communications is] a new collection of people who have been doing their work in offices across campus, and now they’re all going to be co-located on the fourth floor to better coordinate communications and media efforts centrally,” he explained.
According to Klass, the four-segmented organization of the fourth floor of Hopkins Hall will be rearranged into a two-segment system to give the Office of Communications the most efficient workspace for its needs, including larger offices, larger workspaces and a conference room.
All of these renovations should be completed by the beginning of the fall semester, according to Friday’s e-mail.
“We brought together nine of us in this new arrangement,” Director of Communications Angela Schaeffer said. “And we just moved into the existing space, which isn’t really configured for the collaborative work that we want to do and need to do. So it really is just a reconfiguring of the space here to accommodate the number of people now working here and allow us to work more effectively.”

OCC

The planned move of the OCC into Mears House and Mears West, where the office will join Alumni Relations and Development, is also set to be completed by Sept. 2. According to OCC Director John Noble, the extensive renovations in Mears West could potentially cause delays, though the renovations necessary in Mears House are relatively straightforward.
Project Manager Jason Moran said that while he is currently optimistic that all repairs will be completed on time, “there are many variables … that could sway the end date of construction. Until construction begins, I won’t have an exact completion date,” he said.
Director of Alumni Relations Brooks Foehl ’88 expressed excitement for the impending merger: “All of Alumni Relations and Development looks forward to joining forces with [the] OCC, and we’re excited to reap the benefits of physical proximity at the start of the next academic year,” he said.
Klass reiterated that all of the planned moves are simple and logical ones that should be a help to students, staff and faculty alike: “It really is just getting people in the places where they should be and coordinating our work in Hopkins in more programmatically rational ways,” he said.