New Deans To Begin Next Semester

Mica+McKnight%2C+who+is+chairing+the+committee+for+both+FCLC+dean+searches.

COLIN SHEELEY/THE OBSERVER

Mica McKnight, who is chairing the committee for both FCLC dean searches.

By ALLIE BEEKMAN, Staff Writer

Fordham University is concluding interviews in the search for two new deans. One of the positions is to replace Assistant Dean for First-Year Students Joseph Desciak, who left Fordham University to accept an Associate Dean position at Boston College. The second is a new position called the Assistant Dean for Student Support and Success.

The current assistant dean for sophomores, Mica McKnight, is chairing the committee for both Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) dean searches. McKnight is working alongside the FCLC and Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) Dean’s Offices, the Dean of Students office and the Higher Education Opportunity Program office.

The committee has already finished their interviews for both positions, Auricchio said. She expects to extend offers to two candidates this month and fill the positions by January for the start of the Spring 2020 semester.

Arleen Pancza-Graham, who retired from the position of Assistant Dean for Sophomores position in 2017, has been serving as interim Assistant Dean since Desciak’s departure at the start of this academic year. 

The introduction of a second assistant dean role aims to provide further support to the various needs of undergraduate students. 

Learning about the plans to add a second dean position, Gabriella Wilson, FCLC ’21, expressed her enthusiasm. “Sometimes it can be difficult to get an appointment with a dean and the issues that students need to discuss with them are normally urgent. I’m so glad to hear they’re hiring more deans and are expanding the staff,” she said. 

Auricchio also explained that “the Assistant Dean for Student Support and Success will be charged with leading and coordinating efforts to increase student retention.” Fordham’s retention rates have been a recurring problem for the University, with Rev. Joseph McShane, S.J. McShane even creating a retention rate task force in Oct. 2018. 

The second dean position is analogous to a position already in place at FCRH. Christie-Belle Garcia filled this new position at FCRH in July; she grew up in the Bronx and is a Fordham alum.