Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Richard Culliton announced in a school-wide email that three Wesleyan employees would not be returning on August 3. These employees include Scott Backer, former Associate Dean of of Students; Elisa Cardona, former Director of Student Activities and New Student Orientation; and Tanya Purdy, former Director of WesWell.

It was later revealed that effective August 18, Bulaong Ramiz ’11, former Assistant Director of Student Activities and New Student Orientation, would also be moving on. Additionally, Assistant Director of Residential Life Stacey Phelps will be stepping away from her position at the beginning of October to pursue other interests. 

Kevin Butler Replaces Scott Backer

Kevin Butler has been hired to fill the Assistant Dean of Students role, replacing Backer, who left his position in June.

“The Assistant Dean of Students position has been filled with the cooperation of a number of students and staff who participated in the search process in August,” Culliton wrote in an email to the Argus.

The search committee involved reviewed over 100 applicants for the role, ultimately deciding on Butler. Butler had previously served as the Assistant Dean of Students from 2005 to 2007. Butler left Wesleyan in 2007 and worked as the Dean of Student Conduct at Providence College, and has since worked as the Assistant Dean of Students at Quinsigamond Community College.

“Dean Butler brings strong experience working with students, as well as an understanding of and appreciation for the Wesleyan community,” Culliton wrote. “We are excited that Dean Butler will be returning to Wesleyan once again.”

Butler is set to start the role on Sept. 12.

Elisa Cardona and Bulaong Ramiz

The lone two professional members of the Student Activities and Leadership Development (SALD) team have left. Cardona was the director of SALD and will now be taking an administrative and teaching position at the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, CT. After returning to Wesleyan in January of last year, Ramiz moved on, effective Aug. 18.

“I’ve seen their influence on campus and believe that they will be missed by many,” said SALD Graduate Intern for Programming Kayla Schlenz ’16. “Their work went beyond planning student activities, and both of them were dedicated to constantly not only hearing the students but listening to them. I’m disappointed I won’t have the chance to learn from them and work with them, but I’m also thrilled that both of them have moved onto positions they are excited about. Losing them will definitely have an effect on SALD, but I’m optimistic that it will continue to promote student activities and events that add to the student life on campus.”

Usdan Administration and Operations Director Myers-Brown will be taking over the SALD office in the interim.

“The search for directors is active and we have identified some initial candidates; phone interviews will occur in a few weeks,” wrote Michelle Myers-Brown in an email to The Argus. “I am hopeful that we can bring candidates to campus by the end of September. Best-case scenario is sometime in October we will have a new Director but no guarantees.”

The search for Ramiz’s replacement has yet to begin.

“We haven’t decided when to post the [Assistant Director] position,” Myers-Brown wrote. “We had such short notice that I haven’t been able to get into that decision yet. I hope to tackle that next week post-NSO.”

Tanya Purdy

Tanya Purdy was previously the director of WesWell, Wesleyan’s Office of Health Education. She held the position of Director since 2011. Purdy will be moving onto a position as the Director of Health Education at Brown University. The position has been posted through Wesleyan’s Human Resources office but has yet to be filled.

“We hope to have both of these processes brought to conclusion early this semester,” Culliton wrote. “There will be staff and students involved in the search process.”

Until the positions at SALD and WesWell are filled, staff in the student affairs office will be working to assist students.

Stacey Phelps

Stacey Phelps will be moving on from Wesleyan at the start of next month after helping out with the Residential Life staff for the first few weeks of the semester.

“The decision to relocate was made last year when I married my husband, a Canadian citizen,” wrote Phelps in an email to The Argus. “We made a family decision that I would pursue Canadian permanent residency which was granted this past May.”

A replacement has yet to be named, but Director of Residential Life Fran Koerting is optimistic that a viable candidate will soon be found.

“We have posted the position, and hope to begin interviewing candidates soon,” wrote Koerting in an email to The Argus. “Students will be involved in the on-campus interviews when we reach that point. I anticipate asking ResLife staff as well as WSA representatives to participate in the search.”

Phelps elaborated fondly on her six years spent at Wesleyan.

“Wesleyan has been an amazing challenge and I am very thankful for the professional opportunities and friendships that have developed over the last six years,” Phelps wrote. “It is a privilege to work with the students, staff and faculty at Wesleyan in a field I love – housing operations. It will not be easy to walk away next month, but after watching so many students embark on their new adventures, I am looking forward to starting mine.”

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