Tag Archive for employee news

Wesleyan Assumes Leadership of Center for Creative Youth

Wesleyan’s Center for Creative Youth (CCY), is a precollege summer residency program in the arts for students ages 14–18. Talented high school students from across Connecticut, the United States and around the world will gather for four weeks of intensive study in the arts.

Wesleyan’s Center for Creative Youth (CCY), is a precollege summer residency program in the arts for students ages 14–18. Talented high school students from across Connecticut, the United States and around the world will gather for four weeks of intensive study in the arts.

As first announced in October 2018, Wesleyan has assumed leadership of the Center for Creative Youth (CCY) as an official program of the University. The first CCY camps under Wesleyan’s management will be offered in summer 2019. For 42 years, CCY was held on Wesleyan’s campus, but run by the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC). With state education cuts and the resulting financial strain experienced at CREC, CCY’s existence was in jeopardy. This transition to Wesleyan is not only the beginning of a bright new chapter for CCY, but the continuation of a beloved series.

CCY is a four-week precollege summer residential program. High school students from across Connecticut, the United States, and around the world gain hands-on experience in an advanced, progressive curriculum that focuses on performing, creative, and studio arts, while enhancing their critical thinking, interdisciplinary and multicultural learning, and leadership skills. Students leave the program with a better perspective on career and higher education choices. Approximately 60–100 students, ranging in age from 14 to 18, participate each summer. The program features daily arts classes in a variety of concentrations, including music, theater, creative writing, musical theater, and visual arts.

Employees on the Move

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

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

Q&A with Amy Grillo on Education Studies

In addition to teaching at Wesleyan, Amy Grillo works with a nonprofit media/production company that makes films about teaching and teachers. “Our aim is to make visible the actual work of excellent teaching … (and) also to inform and inspire those currently in the classroom or those considering the profession.”

In this Q&A, we speak with Amy Grillo, associate professor of the practice in education studies. This spring, she is teaching Schools in Society and Practicum in Education Studies.

Q: You joined Wesleyan’s faculty during the fall 2018 semester. Welcome to Wesleyan! What are your overall thoughts so far on the University?

A: I keep pinching myself, which is to say that I am incredibly happy to have landed here. I’ve found the students to be lively and engaged, both with their academic work and with the world beyond Wesleyan. The staff and faculty seem similarly energetic and positive. I was most impressed getting to know this year’s batch of new faculty during orientation in August because they seemed to hit the ground with a natural interest in collaborating and supporting each other in both teaching and research, and very open to thinking creatively about pedagogy. Few things could make me happier than working with people who care about teaching as much as I do.

Q: What led you to Wesleyan? Where were you working/teaching prior to Wesleyan?

A: Immediately prior to coming to Wesleyan, I spent six years at Mount Holyoke College, where I taught in the Psychology & Education Department and also in the graduate Master of Arts in Teaching Program. That was supposed to be a one-year visiting faculty gig, but it kept expanding. Prior to that, I was a core faculty member at Vermont College, an unorthodox, low-residency BA program for working adult students. This was an amazing little college, where students met all the requirements of a liberal arts degree by designing and conducting a series of 16-credit interdisciplinary independent studies with the guidance of a faculty mentor and a group of peers. We did teacher education through this model as well, which was a wonderful way to prepare teachers who know how to break out of the boxes that the current system of public education so often puts them in. I’ve also taught at places ranging from Harvard to Hampshire College, I’ve served as senior class dean at Mount Holyoke, and I was a dean of students at the tiny, democratically run, progressive Marlboro College, in Vermont. In all of these settings, my work has always been about looking closely at how we think about and conduct various processes of teaching and learning. So, when I saw that Wesleyan was looking for someone to work with the Center for Pedagogical Innovation and develop and teach courses in education studies, it seemed too good to be true.

Brommer Hired as Associate VP for Human Resources

Lisa Brommer

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 AVP for Finance

Chris Olt

Chris Olt

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.



Meislahn to Retire as Vice President and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid

 Nancy Meislahn is the longest-serving dean of admission in Wesleyan history.

Nancy Meislahn is the longest-serving dean of admission in Wesleyan history.

Nancy Hargrave Meislahn, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid, recently announced that she will retire. Meislahn will leave the University in September after the arrival of the Class of 2023, the 20th class she will admit to Wesleyan.

Meislahn came to Wesleyan from her previous role at Cornell University in January 2000 and is the longest-serving dean of admission in Wesleyan history. Over the past two decades, she has overseen a period of enormous growth and progress in Wesleyan admissions. For the Class of 2004, the first class admitted under Meislahn, Wesleyan received fewer than 7,000 applications and had a 27 percent acceptance rate. In contrast, nearly 13,000 applicants sought a spot in the Class of 2022, which enrolled this fall, and the acceptance rate was only 17 percent. Applications from students around the world increased dramatically during this period, and the international student population on campus has doubled.

"As my team knows, my mantra is, ‘If we are going to work this hard, we better be having fun!’ I certainly have," Meislahn said. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

“As my team knows, my mantra is, ‘If we are going to work this hard, we better be having fun!’ I certainly have,” Meislahn said. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

In an email to the campus community, President Michael Roth ’78 wrote, “Nancy has led an admission and financial aid operation that embodies core Wesleyan values. She spearheaded several important initiatives to make Wesleyan more affordable for families in need of financial assistance, and expanded access to students from underrepresented backgrounds who may not have even considered applying here in the past.” Examples include building on long-standing relationships with organizations like Prep for Prep and A Better Chance and creating new partnerships with QuestBridge and the Posse Veteran Scholars Program.

Under Meislahn’s leadership, the Office of Admission also transitioned to an entirely paperless operation, introduced a test-optional policy, made Wesleyan’s admission process friendlier to undocumented and DACA-status students, and implemented two different database systems.

Roth added, “Nancy’s passion for her work and for Wesleyan shines through to all who meet her, whether it’s in cheering on our lacrosse and rowing teams, celebrating the creative work of our faculty and students, or in declaring ‘Say Yes to Wes!’ every spring.”

“I’ve often said this is simply the best job,” said Meislahn. “I’ve been so fortunate to work with some of the smartest, best educated, and most committed staff in admission and financial aid. As my team knows, my mantra is, ‘If we are going to work this hard, we better be having fun!’ I certainly have.”

Roth said that he intends to conduct a national search to find a successor, and will share more information in the coming months.

Meislahn staffs the desk inside the newly-remodeled Office of Admission.

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 donations 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.

Wesleyan’s R.J. Julia Bookstore to Offer Plant-Based Menu Items at Cafe

The Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore’s grown cafe has added plant-based menu items from New York Times bestselling author Marco Borges’s new book, The Greenprint.

Owned by Shannon Allen and her husband, two-time NBA Champion Ray Allen, grown is already a USDA organic–certified fast food restaurant, offering multiple vegan menu items. A plant-based diet is a revolutionary lifestyle program and a movement for the world that empowers people to consume more plants and reap the myriad benefits plant-based living can provide.

“I am elated to have official Greenprint menu items as a part of grown’s carefully crafted menu,” said Shannon Allen. “Marco and I share a simple, yet ambitious, fundamental belief—healthy eating is not a privilege; it’s a right that should be accessible to everyone. It’s an honor to be associated with a like-minded mission of making the world a happier and more delicious place.”

Shortly after their middle child, Walker, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, the Allens spent a very frustrating evening unsuccessfully driving up and down the highway in search of something delicious, nutrient-dense, made with 100-percent USDA organic–certified ingredients, and with the convenience of a drive-through.

That’s when Shannon had her “ah ha” moment and grown was born. Within two years, she had opened five units including locations inside of Wesleyan’s bookstore, HardRock Stadium, and a Walmart Supercenter.

Borges is an exercise physiologist, lifestyle coach, and a plant-based-living advocate and environmentalist. Passionate about guiding people to develop healthier lifestyles, he has spent more than 20 years as a lifestyle coach, touring the world to empower others with tools for ultimate wellness. Author of The 22-Day Revolution, The 22-Day Revolution Cookbook, as well as Power Moves, he lives in Miami with his wife and their three sons and daughter.