By Fall 2018, there will be a new Dean of Students walking on the campus of Coastal Carolina University as Travis Overton has been given the position of Vice President of Executive Initiatives/Chief of Staff.
Overton gave the details of how this position came about.
“This past summer, the University did a realignment of some areas of the institution,” said Overton. “One of the areas that were realigned are specifically areas of the institution that work on a regular basis to evaluate our community to determine ways that we might need to do these differently, better or help improve the experience for students, faculty, visitors or anyone that is a part of our campus.”
The Executive Initiatives area is the area that focuses on that aspect. This area includes services and departments like CHANT411, Title IX, the Dean of Students, University Compliance and Diversity and Inclusion.
“As a result of this realignment, I have moved out of what was the vice-presidential role of Student’s Rights and Responsibilities, and then my vice president responsibilities shifted to become Vice President for Executive Initiative,” said Overton. “That role has oversight of the services such as the Dean of Students, University Compliance and other parts that fall under the Executive Initiative area.”
The Chief of Staff role that Overton will play allows Overton to assist the president with day-to-day operations for special projects for the President’s office, working on various things for the institution overall.
While the change does come as a surprise to students, the University has been talking about a realignment since the beginning of 2017, and the plans for the realignment were finalized over the summer.
There will be three candidates to visit the university. The first candidate visited on Thursday, Jan. 18 while the second candidate will be on campus Monday, Jan. 22 and Tuesday, Jan. 23. The final candidate will be on campus Wednesday, Jan. 24 and Thursday, Jan. 25.
Overton talked about the importance of students engaging with each candidate and gave his advice to students on the change of scenery in the Dean of Students office.
“One of these candidates will be the new Dean of Students and will be engaging day in and day out with the student body of Coastal Carolina,” said Overton. “The change is bittersweet for me as I have absolutely and tremendously loved being the Dean of Students on this campus for the past five years. I never knew that I wanted to be a Dean of Students and, when the position came to me, I absolutely fell in love with. I want students to embrace the change and see the endless possibility that comes with change.”
The selection process and feedback on each candidate won’t begin until after all three candidates have visited campus.
“It’s a two-way fit,” said Overton. “It is not just the University saying that they want this candidate. It also that candidate telling the University that they enjoyed their experience and that this would be something they would like to pursue. It’s a matching process.”
Once that part of the process is complete, background and reference checks need to be done, and the process can take two to three weeks to possibly two months. There is also the factor of the availability of the newly selected Dean of Students for an official start date.
When a new Dean of Students is selected, Overton has this piece of advice for them.
“First of all, recognize the true gems and values that exist within Teal Nation and understand that we have such an opportunity with our students to be able to change so much of the world by partnering and supporting our students,” said Overton. “The Dean of Students role is such a critical part of that journey. The Dean of Students role has that ability to be a parent away from home for that student that may be trying to make a connection in some way. My advice to the incoming Dean is to know how important that role is to the journey of a student on our campus and help realize that a positive experience can set an amazing pathway for a student as they begin to change the world.”