Michael Jasek served as vice president for student affairs at Central Connecticut State University. Jasek is one of four candidates for the position of associate vice president/dean of students; they spoke during a forum on Nov. 18 at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
What is one way you’ve made it so there’s not that intimidation barrier between yourself and students? What is something you have done or could do to break down that barrier so that students feel comfortable with you?”
“No. 1: I think the dean of students should speak at new student orientation and explain the role of dean of students. No. 2: that welcome week is not a time for me to sleep, it’s a time for me to be at every program I can be at, not to have a speaking role but to be visible. I believe it’s important that students see me. No. 3: one thing I do is I walk. I say hello to students, I say ‘ how are you doing? How are your classes?’” Through doing that piece of it, it allows them to say ‘oh yeah I had a conversation with the dean of students outside of this’ so when there’s a problem, they know who I am and they’re comfortable.”
“I may not have an understanding but it’s important that I get that understanding, then from there formulate how we can meet the needs and remove the barriers for equity on campus.”
On establishing initiatives for diversity, equity and inclusion on campus:
“Talk about ways to improve and expand…Talk to groups because what college was like when I went to college is very different from what it is today. Your concerns could be very different.”
On their biggest accomplishment:
“(While at Central Connecticut State University) I started doing research on college students that face food insecurity, homelessness and housing insecurity… We developed ‘Circle of Care’… and how it was formulated was when a student was referred or referred themself, we connected them to a case manager, one of the committee members that it fit best with, met with the student and figured out not just what they needed immediately but tried to identify those pieces that were keeping them in that situation.”