Staff

Employees on the Move

The Office of Human Resources announces the following hires, transitions, and departures between August and December 2018:

HIRES
Matt Glasz, director for annual giving, on Aug. 1
James Huerta, associate dean of admission, on Aug. 6
Emma Walsh, assistant director for internships and campus recruiting in Gordon Career Center, on Aug. 6
Michael Acosta, study abroad advisor in the Fries Center for Global Studies, on Aug. 13
Christian Camerota, director of editorial content strategy and creation in University Communications, Aug. 13
Aracely Montes, administrative assistant in chemistry, on Aug. 14
Jessica Tyler, web specialist in University Communications, on Aug. 27
David Chearo, chief of staff in the President’s Office, on Sept. 4
Joshua Blodgett, facilities business coordinator and rental property manager in Construction Services, on Sept. 10

Brommer Hired as Associate VP for Human Resources

On Dec. 3, Lisa Brommer was hired as associate vice president for human resources, succeeding Julia Hicks, who retired in September. Brommer comes to Wesleyan from Colorado College, where she was serving as interim director of human resources. In her work at Colorado College, she was known for creating professional development opportunities for staff, improving recruitment processes to ensure a diverse applicant pool, building leadership capacity at all levels, and putting systems in place to identify and retain top talent.

Brommer received her BA at the University of Sioux Falls and her MA from the University of South Dakota and earned both her SPHR and SHRM-SCP designations from the Society for Human Resource Management.

“In my short time at Wesleyan, it’s been exciting to hear from many campus leaders and the HR team about how we can better serve the campus community and ensure that we are as strong in our support of campus as we can be,” she said. “Helping campus locate talent, develop talent, and retain talent is central to the HR team’s mission and will be our focus going forward. I’m encouraged by the support I’ve received from the HR team, Andy Tanaka, and the many colleagues who have welcomed me to Wesleyan, and I look forward to doing some awesome work here on behalf of our students, staff, and faculty.”

Olt Joins Finance and Administration as VP for Finance

On Oct. 8, Christopher Olt joined Wesleyan as associate vice president for finance. Olt took on a role last held by Nate Peters before his promotion to vice president for the Office of Finance and Administration. Upon Peters’s retirement, the leadership structure of Finance and Administration was reorganized, reestablishing this new role.

Olt comes to Wesleyan with significant finance experience in education, most recently at Notre Dame High School of West Haven, where he was responsible for all aspects of finance, budget, and other operational areas including physical plant, information technology, campus safety, and risk management. He was previously a senior manager with KPMG and knows Wesleyan well, having worked on the University’s financial audit for several years.

Olt received his BA and MA degrees from the University of Connecticut and is a licensed certified public accountant.

 

 

Employees Honored for Service to Wesleyan

On Nov. 2, the Office of Human Resources hosted its annual Service Recognition Luncheon for employees who have worked at Wesleyan for 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 or more years.

On Nov. 2, the Office of Human Resources hosted its annual Service Recognition Luncheon for employees who have worked at Wesleyan for 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 or more years.

On Nov. 2, the Office of Human Resources hosted its annual Service Recognition Luncheon for employees who have worked at Wesleyan 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, or more years. Following a catered meal, Wesleyan President Michael Roth '78 asked the employees to share a favorite memory or comment on the biggest changes at Wesleyan during their tenure.

Following a catered meal, Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78, pictured at left, asked the employees to share their favorite memories and comment on the biggest changes they faced during their Wesleyan tenure.

Renee Johnson Thornton, dean for the Class of 2022, celebrated 20 years.

Wesleyan’s United Way Campaign Surpasses $2M Mark

The 2017-18 Middlesex United Way Wesleyan Employee Campaign brought in more than $100,000 in contributions, pushing Wesleyan’s offerings to more than $2 million since 2001.

“This milestone—made possible by your generosity and the efforts of many volunteers across campus—is one we should all be proud of,” said Clifton Watson, director of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships and United Way campaign coordinator. “Our collective support will help ensure that the remarkably effective programs of the United Way will continue to provide critical services to residents across the region.”

This year, 360 Wesleyan employees, retired faculty, and authorized vendors (including 31 “Leadership Givers” pledging $1,000 or more) participated.

Commute to Work with New Vanpooling Option

This year, the Sustainability Office is partnering with Commute with Enterprise to offer vanpooling opportunities to employees.

A vanpool is a group of 7–15 people traveling to work together in a minivan or a 12–15 passenger van. Vanpool groups usually meet each day at a prearranged location, such as a park-and-ride lot. Commuters pay a monthly fee that covers the van, insurance, and fuel costs.

In addition, users enjoy:

  • Reduced personal vehicle maintenance expenses
  • Emergency ride home service
  • Roadside assistance
  • Eligibility for commuter rewards
  • Reduced stress (a recent study indicates that vanpoolers experience a 21 percent lower rate of self-reported stress than those driving alone)
  • A reduced carbon footprint

Fries Center for Global Studies Creates Language Proficiency Database

Parlez vous français?
Hablas español?
Bạn có nói được tiếng Việt không?

According to Wesleyan’s Language Proficiency Database, more than 80 languages, other than English, are spoken, read, or written on campus.

The database, which was created in November 2018, is free and available to the entire Wesleyan campus. Speakers of a language other than English (at any level) are encouraged to go to WesPortal / My Information / Language Proficiency, to add one or more languages and levels of proficiency.

This year, the Fries Center for Global Studies (FCGS) is promoting the use of languages other than English in classes, formal events, and informal events, explained Stephen Angle, Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies; professor of philosophy; professor, East Asian studies; and director of the Fries Center for Global Studies.

“This is a three-part process,” Angle explained. “First we need to encourage all staff, faculty, and students to register their language competencies. Secondly, the Office of Language and Intercultural Learning will support the organization interested in hosting an event by sharing email lists of everyone on campus who speaks a given language; and third, we will gather data about what events have taken place and how successful they are.”

Steps (2) and (3) involve contacting Kia Lor, assistant director of language and intercultural learning in FCGS.

For more information on the Language Proficiency Database, visit Wesleyan’s Language and Intercultural Learning website. To set up a class or event in a language other than English, contact Kia Lor, assistant director of language and intercultural learning at the Fries Center for Global Studies.

Thornton Leaving Legacy of Student of Color Recruitment at Wesleyan

Since joining Wesleyan in 1985, Thornton has been instrumental in establishing and leading the University’s historic commitment to a diverse and academically elite student body, a defining feature of the Wesleyan experience. As he wraps up his final fall semester, Thornton took time to sit down in his office across Foss Hill and reflect on his accomplishments, Wesleyan’s future, and some of his fondest memories.

Since joining Wesleyan in 1985, Cliff Thornton, associate dean of admission at Wesleyan has been instrumental in establishing and leading the University’s historic commitment to a diverse and academically elite student body, a defining feature of the Wesleyan experience. Having served Wesleyan—now for more than 30 years, Thornton recently announced that he will retire at the end of the Spring 2019 semester. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

To listen to Cliff Thornton speak with prospective students and parents is to feel included, even if you’re eavesdropping.

Thornton is associate dean of admission at Wesleyan, covering a wide geographic and socioeconomic range: the South Central U.S. from Kentucky to Louisiana, Manhattan, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Caribbean. Having served these communities—and Wesleyan—now for more than 30 years, it makes sense that he would demonstrate an ease and fluency in his relations with so many different people from such different backgrounds. He’s had a lot of practice.

But something unique about Thornton, which by many accounts has been true from the beginning of his time at Wesleyan, is how his holistic approach impacts students. To hear him tell it:

“Alumni will often start out by saying to me, ‘You probably don’t remember me, but I graduated from Wesleyan in 1995….’ And I always remember them. That’s why I’ve continued to do this work. I’ve had the privilege to witness their growth and success,” Thornton said.

“Working in admission is good in two ways. First, it’s great to be in an educational environment and to believe in the mission. Second, if practiced correctly, it’s a lot like teaching. It might surprise some to hear this, but at the end of the day I don’t consider it my job to make sure a student comes to Wesleyan. My job is to help them make an informed decision. Particularly with underrepresented populations, this is a big challenge. As Dr. Cornel West has said of the African American community: What we often suffer from is a poverty of information. That’s a driving force for me—making sure students have the right information to make such a crucial decision.”

This approach bears itself out in Thornton’s work on a daily basis. In a recent information session with a large group of prospective students and parents, he was clear that the session should be a conversation. Hearing and helping the group talk through their questions and concerns was as important as presenting to them. Fifteen minutes in, students and parents alike were openly talking about their college search experiences (good and bad), and were responding to and assisting one another. Thornton and senior interviewer Shana Laski ’19 served more as facilitators than lecturers. By the session’s end, the prospective group left informed and enthused—well-educated on what Wesleyan had to offer, and clearer about what they wanted and had to offer in turn.

Thornton’s unique understanding and approach at least partially derives from his own educational background. Prior to joining Wesleyan in 1985, he was an adjunct professor and actively considering a PhD. While dating someone who was already enrolled in a doctorate program, he was exposed to the “torturous path” of attaining that terminal degree, and was bumped from his adjunct role by another professor with a PhD.

“I lost my taste for wanting to be a professor,” he said.

Public Safety, Greek Life Stuff a Cruiser to Benefit Local Children in Need

Wesleyan Public Safety Sgt. Kathy Burdick and dispatcher Val Walker collect toy donations from the Wesleyan community during the office’s inaugural Stuff a Cruiser event Dec. 4.

Wesleyan Public Safety and Greek Life hosted a Stuff a Cruiser event Dec. 3–7 at Usdan’s Huss Courtyard and Dec. 8 at Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore. The University partnered with the Middletown Fire Department by collecting donations to benefit local children in need during the holidays and throughout the year.

Several members of Psi Upsilon also helped staff the event and Bon Appétit Management Co. provided free coffee vouchers for anyone who made a donation.

“The Wesleyan community has been so generous during our Stuff a Cruiser event,” said Sgt. Kathy Burdick. “We ‘ve collected many toys and cash donations, and we look forward to doing this again next year.”

As a result of the donations, which filled five Public Safety cruisers, Wesleyan helped 16 local families provide gifts for their children on Christmas.

Public Safety also is collecting donations (including wrapping paper) at the office located at 208 High Street. (Photos by Alexa Jablonski ’22)

Bloom ’75 Speaks on the Importance of Research in Storytelling, Character Development

Amy Bloom '75, the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing, spoke on "Lies, Facts, and Research" during a Staff Luncheon Series talk Nov. 27 in Daniel Family Commons. Bloom, a New York Times best-seller, has been a nominee for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Bloom explained how she weaves historical events and research into her stories. "The story leads me to research, or research leads me to the story," Bloom said. "Research is behind the whole umbrella behind the story. It offers me so many opportunities to see, develop, and illuminate characters."

Amy Bloom ’75, the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing, spoke on “Lies, Facts, and Research” during a Staff Luncheon Series talk Nov. 27 in Daniel Family Commons. Bloom, a New York Times best-selling author, has been a nominee for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Bloom explained how she weaves historical events and research into her stories. “The story leads me to research, or research leads me to the story,” Bloom said. “Research offers me so many opportunities to see, develop, and illuminate characters.”

Amy Bloom

For her most recent novel, White Houses (Penguin Random House 2018), Bloom studied approximately 3,000 letters written over a 30-year-period between Eleanor Roosevelt and journalist Lorena Hickok at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library to develop her new take on the secretive relationship between Eleanor and “Hick.” Bloom also is professor of the practice in creative writing and professor of the practice, English. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Neighborhood Preschoolers Trick-or-Treat on Campus

Donning their Halloween costumes, children from Wesleyan’s Neighborhood Preschool parade down College Row on Oct. 31.

Children from Wesleyan’s Neighborhood Preschool (NPS) trick-or-treated on Wesleyan’s campus Oct. 31. The children, accompanied by their families and teachers, stopped at Exley Science Center, Olin Library, South College, and North College to trick-or-treat, sing songs, and show off their Halloween costumes. Many trick-or-treaters are the children of Wesleyan faculty and staff.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth and staff from University Communications offered candy to the children during the campus parade.

Photos of the NPS parade are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)