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Five-person team temporarily oversees leadership of Student Affairs

Search for new vice president continues, expected completion during mid-summer of 2021

After the July departure of the Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Mamta Accapadi, the search for her replacement is still ongoing. 

A leadership team of five people assigned by President Grant Cornwell is working together to lead Student Affairs. 

The team is made up of Leon Hayner, interim dean of students and assistant vice president; Micki Meyer, Lord family assistant vice president of Student Affairs; Dr. Lisa Gilliean-Crump, assistant vice president for Career and Life Planning; Dr. Connie Briscoe, director of the Wellness Center; and Trish Moser, director of the Office of Student Affairs. 

The team’s purpose is to ensure that students “make meaning of their educational opportunities and their academic interests … and to ensure that students have a holistic, well-rounded experience,” said Hayner.

Each of these individuals remain in charge of their assigned departments. Due to the increase in their responsibilities as staff members, Hayner said that the President has granted them a small stipend. 

Cornwell explained that Rollins intends to hire a leading national search consultant to run the search for potential replacements. However, the search consultant has yet to begin. 

“I haven’t started a national search because I’m in conversation with a potential candidate, and I am setting up a process which looks like a search process,” said Cornwell.

COVID-19 will play a factor in the hiring process and will present challenges to the search. Potential candidates will not be able to immerse within the campus culture and community or talk with students, which are all key aspects of Student Affairs. 

On the other hand, Cornwell said that “[COVID-19] has just been a massive and sustained exercise in crisis management, and every vice president of Student Affairs has to be very good, very calm, and very thoughtful in a crisis.” 

Cornwell also said that he is looking for a replacement who has “a deep, scholarly, and also empathetic understanding of student life and student affairs issues on college campuses.” He added that the replacement will need to have a certain level of sophistication. 

These are just some of the qualities that the new vice president must encompass, but one of the most important things is that Accapadi’s replacement must exhibit the capacity to lead an organization, said Cornwell.

“I think one of Mamta Accapadi’s real strengths is that she had a vision of organizational leadership, and she created the structure of care and community and career,” said Cornwell.

While the leadership team’s shared responsibilities and diverse experiences benefit students, a single vice president is needed to be held accountable for everyone and everything involved with Student Affairs, said Cornwell

Cornwell expects to have Accapadi’s replacement by mid-summer of next year. Whoever is chosen to replace her will be expected to carry on her dedication to and development of Student Affairs. 

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