Search for Senior Dean Still Continues

One Month After Petit-Hall Leaves, FCLC Seniors Are Left Without a Dean


The FCLC Office of the Deans has an unoccupied room since the senior dean position remains vacant. (Charlie Puente/The Observer)


The FCLC Office of the Deans has an unoccupied room since the senior dean position remains vacant. (Charlie Puente/The Observer)

Seniors from Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) have been without a dean for over a month. The position has been open since former Senior Dean, Cecilia Petit-Hall, stepped down in August. The date the position will be filled remains unknown. Although some seniors may be fine at the moment without a dean, others hope the university finds a replacement as soon as possible.

Tara Aquino, FCLC ’12, is graduating this semester and said that she feels a little lost and thinks this is inconvenient.

“I was annoyed but also kind of worried because I don’t really have the time to wait for them to figure things out because I have to before the end of year,” Aquino said. “It’s a little nerve wracking because there was no one to help me figure out and confirm if I could graduate.”

Laura Paloubis, FCLC ’12, shared her frustration with not having a dean, and said, “I felt nervous because with graduation coming up, I don’t know what to do.”

“A lot of people liked Petit-Hall, but once she left, everyone thought we were all screwed,” Paloubis said. “I do have questions, but at the same time I feel like someone should give us a general overview,” she said.

On the other hand, seniors like Minira Aslanova, FCLC ’12, said that it is not so much about having someone with the title of senior dean, as long as someone is there to help. “It doesn’t really bother me that we don’t have a senior dean right now as long as I have someone who could give me the answers I need,” she said.

The Rev. Father Robert R. Grimes, S.J., dean of FCLC, said that he understands seniors need a dean right away. The administrative position announcement for a senior dean was posted on Sept. 15 on Fordham’s website. So far 20 candidates have applied.

“I want somebody who really understands the liberal arts and contributes to the team,” Grimes said.

According to its job description, the senior dean “coordinates academic matters for seniors, including graduation reviews, advising and registering, mid-semester survey, academic probation and dismissal, leaves of absence and withdrawals.”

Grimes said, “The major responsibility for the senior dean is to make sure that the students prepare to graduate on time and to fulfill any and all necessary requirements. The senior dean also controls the diploma ceremony commencement at graduation.”

Petit-Hall willingly stepped down from her position due to personal reasons, but Grimes said, “I thought she did a wonderful job. Not only is she a real loss to the college, but she also worked very well with the students.”

Petit-Hall first came to FCLC in 2006. She was originally hired as the assistant dean for juniors and transfers, but then volunteered to become the senior dean when the position was vacant. Though it does not fall under his jurisdiction, Joseph B. Desciak, the current assistant dean for juniors and transfers, said that he tries to give guidance to the seniors whenever possible.

“We need to spend extra time with these students so that they feel welcomed,” Desciak said. Desciak never met Petit-Hall in person, but he believes that she has done so much for FCLC. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about her,” he said. Despite not having a senior dean, Desciak and other members of the dean’s staff are doing what they can to help out the seniors.

For now, Grimes said that he advises all seniors to attend the Senior Convocation on Oct. 6. The convocation will be held in the 12th floor lounge in the Lowenstein building from noon to 1 p.m. Grimes noted that it will provide information for seniors, preparing them as they move out of college and begin to work. “As an orientation of some sort, the convocation gives them a sense of what graduation is like,” Grimes said.

Jonathan Scialpi, FCLC ’12, said that he is not struggling without a senior dean because he speaks with his computer science advisor for help with his major.

“[My Advisor] basically told me what I need to take to graduate on time and even helped me set up my schedule as to what I’m interested in for my career path and helped me with time management,” Scialpi said.

Grimes said that nobody is frustrated with Petit-Hall for leaving, but he thinks its a stress on the other deans. “Everybody on the dean’s staff has a partial responsibility to the senior dean position,” he said.