Staff changes shake up Student Affairs

Bradley’s Division of Student Affairs has had a busy past couple of months between shuffling positions around and transitioning new faculty members for the 2017-18 school year.

One faculty member to enter a new position is Tom Coy, who, until last April, served as Bradley’s Director of Student Activities. Coy now serves as the Executive Director of Student Involvement. Within the new position, Coy said he is responsible for a variety of tasks.

“My job really now is managing campus recreation, camps and conferences and student activities, which all fall under me,” Coy said.

Additionally, Coy will be responsible for coordinating the leadership studies minor.

Coy cited the need to fill vacant positions and the turnover of younger professionals on staff as some of the reasons for the multiple switches and new additions taking place within the department.

“While you can never predict turnover, this year, we had three or four people do that,” Coy said. “So, we had some people move into new positions, and we also had to backfill my [old] position [of Director of Student Activities].”

Replacing Coy as the Director of Student Activities is Cara Wood, who said she is looking forward to taking part in the many opportunities that allow her to help students in her new position.

“I was drawn to Bradley because of its great reputation, its family atmosphere and because I got the impression that I could make a significant impact on students,” Wood said. “I look forward to working more closely with all student clubs and student leaders to develop their skills, provide them with more resources and trainings and to streamline processes.”

Another big change taking place specifically within Student Affairs is the move of the Lewis J. Burger Center to within the Student Activities office; a difference that Wood said will enhance the center’s operations.

“The move of the LJB Center under the Student Activities office made a lot of sense to me when I first heard about it,” Wood said. “Our opportunity to engage more students in leadership education and service learning experiences is a benefit. Collaboration between staff members within the office is another benefit.”

This school year, the LJB Center will be run by Ben Wright as the Assistant Director of Student Activities for Leadership and Services. He will be replacing Jessica Chandler after she departed from Bradley over the summer.

Coy said one of the best improvements Student Affairs has was the hiring of Matt Panich as the Director of Campus Recreation and Athletic Facilities, a position which has been vacant for three years. With the addition of Panich, new ideas and concepts for improvement in Markin Recreation Center activities are now being considered, according to Coy.

“Already, with having a Director of Campus Recreation, we have seen some really cool changes because Matt Panich, who we hired for that position, has some expertise in that area,” Coy said.

According to Coy, some of the improvements Panich has made include ordering new equipment for Markin, working on relationships with local equipment vendors for students to test, structuring holistic fitness and wellness programs and setting general maintenance and cleaning standards for Markin. These improvements might not have been considered as closely before without someone with a campus recreation background, Coy said.

“That is something that someone from a campus recreation background really can assess and say, ‘This is what we need,’” Coy said.

According to Panich, him and his staff can concentrate on improving the campus recreation department.

“I think having someone in this position will allow for the department to focus on a mission and vision for the department,” Panich said. “Without someone in this position it would be difficult for any department at a university like Bradley to accomplish more than status quo due to the staff not having the time and resources to think about vision.”

With a completely new staff and a growing campus recreation and athletic facilities department, Panich said he and his staff are open to receiving feedback and suggestions from students.