Joy Pufhal’s appointment as Executive Director of Student Life several weeks ago is one of the final pieces of a change in administrative leadership which was put into practice on June 7. The change, announced on June 7 in an email from President Kalikow, consisted of the consolidation of the Division of Student and University Life and the Division of Student Success into one unit.
The consolidation resulted in the elimination of Craig Hutchinson’s position as the university’s chief student affairs officer, as well as an associate director position and that of the director of residential life, while on the other hand adding duties to existing positions. One example, Pufhal said, is Jason Saucier’s position, which formerly was that of director of Gorham student life, but now encompasses both Gorham student life and residential life.
Pufhal has been working in the position as Executive Director of Student Life on an interim basis for a number of months, and she expressed excitement at being offered the position permanently. “I love working with students,” Pufhal said. “I’ve been at USM since August of 2000, and I really like working here.”
Pufhal said that the reorganization of the two divisions into one, which she said was most likely partially financially motivated and partially due to the desire to create a more efficient system, came with its own challenges. “There are fewer of us to do the work and we need to do better than ever,” Pufhal said.
However, she said that the collaboration brought about by the consolidation can be seen as an opportunity. She also expressed a desire to expand that collaboration.
“I’m all about collaboration with the academic side of the house, so how do we integrate ourselves with academic affairs and the faculty? How do we partner with each other to add value to the student experience?”
The next phase in the consolidation of what used to be the two divisions of Student and University Life and Student Success will be the hiring of a Dean of Students. Currently, Pufhal is performing some of the duties of the Dean of Students on an interim basis. The University is in the process of looking for a Dean of Students.