The Office of Residential Life at Boston College is in the process of filling several key administrative positions. Catherine-Mary Rivera, former director of the Pathways program, was recently promoted to associate director for education, a spot that had been vacant since current Director of Residential Life George Arey left the position in October 2010.
The responsibilities of the associate director position include supervising live-in staff, overseeing academic initiatives, and crisis response.
The process of filling such a significant position was intensive, according to Arey. “We worked through a multi-month process,” he said. “We brought five candidates to campus: one internal candidate, and four candidates from literally across the country.”
All the candidates came to campus for an intensive day-and-a-half-long interview process, which included conversations with internal stakeholder groups, those groups candidates would potentially be supervising; a collegial group, those with whom they would be working; and finally a stakeholder group comprised of offices across the campus that are directly involved with ResLife, such as AHANA student programs, the Office of First Year Experience, athletics, and the Dean of Students. Each person involved in the interviews completes evaluations for the candidates, which Arey reviews before a decision is made.
Rivera moved to BC in July 2005 and spent her first three years working as the assistant director for the first year area, supervising Upper and Newton Campuses. She then took on the assistant director position for the senior area for another three years. After that time, Rivera spent a year as the manager of the Pathways program, which is being piloted on Newton Campus.
“It was very different, more project management-oriented, assessment-heavy-working with the University stakeholders and resources to build this initiative,” she said. “What I really loved was that there was a strong tie to making our mission of student formation a reality. We took that concept, that theory, and were able to then practically build a program to present for students.”
After the program was renewed for a second year, Rivera kept working on Pathways over the summer, and then decided to apply for the associate director position, which would allow her to combine her interests of project management and staff supervision, when the search opened up.
As Rivera transitions to her new position, she is also involved in the process of filling other key positions in ResLife. Greg Jones, from Brandeis University, was hired as the Assistant Director of Housing Occupancy and Assignments last Tuesday, Jan. 15. Jones, who has more than five years of experience with assignments, will begin working in early February. The position of tech manager, who will manage all of the office technology, such as the room selection platforms, and will be involved in project management, remains open.
The Associate Director for Operations & Financial Management has also been vacant since April of 2011. Arey said that, after an initial search, he was unimpressed by the depth and quality of the applicant pool. The search was closed, the job description revised, and a new search commenced. “Traditionally, the position was heavily focused on finance,” Arey said. “Now, it’s heavily focused on operations and facilities. So in the past it was very focused on running the overall department budget. We now have, in our division, another relatively new addition is Jonathan Hinrichs, and Jonathan is the chief financial officer for the division. So this takes a little bit of the financial burden off of this person-we retooled the position to be focusing more on construction and renovations, the condition of the residence halls, and then working with some of our processes: room selection, end of the year closing, opening.”
Although by no means a newcomer to the University, Rivera acknowledged that, as she is not a BC alumnae, she had to “grow into BC” and work to learn the culture.
“A big initial goal for me in this transition is just relearning the culture of the live-in staff,” she said. “What they need to be successful, and what processes and procedures need to be in place so they can then spend the time with their students, they can spend the time creating initiatives and experiences that are in line with the University’s mission and our individual mission of student formation in the residence halls.”