By Abby Wargo
This semester, new members of the Washington College staff will be welcomed to campus.
Brandon McFayden is the new director of the Department of Public Safety following former director Jerry Roderick’s retirement this summer.
“It’s going to take some getting used to,” McFayden said. “Jerry’s been a part of the College for so long.”
McFayden, who has worked at WC for two years, started as a regular patrol officer for Public Safety. When Sue Golinski, associate director of Public Safety, left the school for 10 months, McFayden stepped in to fill her position. Golinski has since returned to WC as the associate director.
“She has some great ideas, and she’s been instrumental in getting us up to speed,” McFayden said. “Losing Jerry was a big deficit, but with Sue, we can pick up right where we left off.”
McFayden’s goal as the new director is to improve officer training. Recently, officers participated in an eight-hour mental health first aid training session to help treat people in distress, he said. Public Safety is continuing to review records to make sure that officer’s minimum training is up-to-date.
He also hopes to increase staffing levels so that Public Safety can be more visible on campus. Public Safety is currently in the process of hiring new officers.
McFayden said that Public Safety is still in the initial stages of finding ways to improve, and that he himself is still getting used to his new position and all it entails.
“As director of Public Safety, everyone looks to you to ensure the safety of everyone. The weight of that responsibility — I take that seriously,” he said.
Also new this semester is Laura Johnson, the new vice president of Finance. Her job is to oversee “all things finance,” like the business office, legal, human resources, the budget, investments, payroll, and all auxiliary services.
Before joining WC, Johnson served as a senior global financial analyst for 26 years with the DuPont Co. in Wilmington, Del. WC President Kurt Landgraf also used to work at DuPont, and was Johnson’s CFO.
“It’s nice to have a connection with the president,” Johnson said.
The shift from working for a corporation to higher education has been a shock, she said.
“I came from a very rigid environment, and higher education has been a little more complex,” she said. “I can see the impact I have on students, which is a big difference.”
One of Johnson’s goals is to focus on relationships with the campus community, and to spend time on faculty and staff relations.
Another issue of importance she wants to address is how to keep WC sustainable and attuned to student’s needs.
“An important question is, where is the College headed and how do we get there?” she said.
As vice president of Finance, Johnson said she is committed to the department and won’t be leaving any time soon.
“I’m here for the long haul,” she said. “I’m a little different, instead of making a decision that will only work for this year, I’m looking five years ahead.”
Mark Hampton, the former vice president of Finance, is returning to WC as the executive vice president of Strategy and Operations. The position has been newly created to oversee areas of administration as well as generate efficient operational plans to keep WC sustainable.
Hampton said that identifying the value proposition of the College and making it appealing to prospective students, improving enrollment, and integrating more analytics into the admissions process — such as reviewing how and where WC is recruiting students — are some of his goals to accomplish in the new position.
“The potential for the College is so great, and although there are challenges, they can be met with creativity,” Hampton said.
Although he moved to New York two years ago to work at the New York Institute of Technology, Hampton has always maintained his connections — and a home — in Chestertown.
“I still have friends here, and I come down pretty much every month,” he said. “I love New York, but I found the position at WC, and had a genuine interest in coming back. It was the perfect opportunity: live in the town I love and build on skills I learned during the two years I was away. …It feels like coming home.”
Susie Chase, a WC alumna, has also returned to WC for the third time, this time as the vice president of Advancement. She was the development director from 1999 to 2005.
“The opportunity came up to come back to WC, and it felt really right,” Chase said. “[Working for Advancement] was my first job out of college, which I started two weeks after I graduated. I’m very passionate about the WC experience.”
Most recently, Chase was the executive director for the Maryland region of the One Love Foundation and was the vice president of philanthropy and partnerships of the US Lacrosse Foundation.
Chase said Advancement’s work thus far is “impressive” and that she is looking forward to becoming a part of the team. Her duties include handling the College’s philanthropic revenue as well as fundraising centered in the Advancement office.
To Chase, development is not just about money.
“It’s a way to stay connected to and involved with the College. You’re always a part of the community,” she said. “I’m excited to come back and serve to help make WC a special place.”
The Office of Student Engagement has a new director and assistant director in Elaine Grant and Sarah Tansits, respectively. They work together to ensure that student activities are well-participated and that the activities behoove the students personally and academically. They also provide support to any club or organization.
Before coming to WC, Grant was the student activities director at Mount Aloysius College in Pennsylvania.
Grant is working to restart the National Society of Leadership and Success, Sigma Alpha Pi, on campus. The society offers leadership training and “stepping stones” to encourage student leadership. She also hopes to provide students with more opportunities for community service and new annual events.
“Sometimes you need to change it up to get students excited,” she said.
Tansits has plans to bolster Greek life, including more training and support from national and local chapters and reconstituting the Interfraternity Council to make it more formalized.
Grant and Tansits are always looking for student input to better plan events and improve the student experience.
“It’s important that students feel they have input. Realizing that Student Government Association is a voice for students and that Student Events Board is the student’s programming board is important,” Grant said.