Meet Tech’s new Dean of Students – keweenawreport.com

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Michigan Technological University’s new Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students is hitting the ground running. Wallace Southerland III was hired in May following a long tenure with Salisbury University, a branch of the University of Maryland system.

Southerland began his role at Tech on July 1st and is still putting the finishing touches on his office, while living in an on-campus apartment. He says the most immediate task is ensuring that Tech returns to normal as much as possible.

We are expecting what students know, love, and enjoy about the traditional college experience, and that’s the message we really want to drive home. Students can expect a traditional college experience. Yes, we’re going to have athletics. Yes, we’re going to have dining services.

Already a mask mandate and the new delta variant are causing some snags in that goal. Beginning on the 15th, masks will be required in all on-campus buildings for a five-week period. Southerland says getting international students to campus in the age of COVID also poses some challenges.

We’re going to be going to Chicago to really welcome and receive international students, making sure they get back here safely. And we’re going to be spending time in Chicago interacting with alums, giving students some light refreshments, and then we’re going to transport them safely to the campus.

Southerland says that he hopes to develop connections within the campus community through a series of discussions, while challenging students to perform at a higher level than even they might think possible. When Michigan Tech announced Southerland’s hiring it cited his work in “improving student retention and graduation rates for first-generation, low-income, disability, minority, and other students.”