Macalester’s Office of Student Affairs is currently conducting a national search for a new Director of the Career Development Center (CDC), who will be chosen by the end of May. Associate Dean for Student Services Denise Ward, who has been occupying a role as director in both the CDC and the Health and Wellness Center, will now be working full time as Director of Health and Wellness.
Ward has been at Macalester since 1987, beginning in the Career Development Center. She first held the dual director role from 1996 to 1999, following a staff reorganization by Student Affairs. During this time, Ward added Health Promotions to the offerings of the department. The staff reorganized again in 1999, and Ward returned to the CDC, but resumed the dual director position in 2005.
“I had promised her that it would be short-term,” Vice President of Student Affairs Laurie Hamre said of Ward’s return to the CDC. “And [then] we had an economic downturn, and for all practical purposes, the College had a freeze on hiring and academic positions.”
In response to student need, the only other full-time position that could be funded went to counseling. Until now, the College could not afford to hire another full-time employee. Hamre cited the emphasis on career and vocation in the Strategic Plan as the reason for the recent change in budget, which allowed her to request funding for a new CDC Director.
“Denise was doing mostly management and not a whole lot of student service,” Hamre said. “And so this will now give a person both hands to emphasize what the Strategic Plan calls for. Working with students from the time they enter to the time they graduate so they can leave meaningful lives is a part of the Strategic Plan.”
Hamre also said that candidates for the position will likely visit the campus in May, just as the search is winding down, so that they will have a chance to understand the nature of campus life and so students will have the opportunity to interact with them.
In an email, Ward wrote that with a new director, the CDC should also have more time to conduct assessment projects.
“We know we are impacting student learning outcomes,” Ward said. “But it has been challenging time-wise to engage in the engagement activities to demonstrate that.”
Ward also says she is looking forward to having more time to execute projects for Health and Wellness, such as contracting with a 24-hour phone counseling service.
She referred to her work in the Health and Wellness Center as “energizing” and as an important resource for the maintenance of a successful student body.
“It is rewarding to help create a place that lets that happen,” Ward said.