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  • Ian Livingston Brooking

New Dean of Students looks forward to first academic year at Coastal Carolina

Peter Paquette was introduced as the new Dean of Students at Coastal Carolina University on April 18, 2018, replacing Travis Overton, who served as the Dean of Students for almost a decade.

The Dean of Students role on the campus of Coastal Carolina is to provide supervision for the student conduct and student advocacy. In his new role, Dean Paquette will serve as the chief student conduct officer for the University as well as the chair of the behavior intervention team (Chant Intervention Team) and the chair of the student threat assessment team. Dean Paquette will also serve as deputy Title IX coordinator for student-related matters.

Paquette talked about what led him to Coastal Carolina and why he chose to become a member of the Teal Nation.

“When I read the job description, I felt as if it was written for what I wanted to do next,” said Paquette. “My background is in student conduct and my PhD is in counseling and student services. The other piece was that Dean Overton was very involved in the Association for Student Conduct Administrators. So, I had known of Coastal and I knew that a lot of the processes were in good shape. I felt as if that this would be a great next step and was very excited about the opportunity.”

Paquette opened up about his initial thoughts of the campus when he came for his interview.

“Quite frankly, I had a great experience,” said Paquette. “What stood out to me was how interested folks were about the Dean of Students role and who would be filling that vacancy. I was greatly pleased with how people cared about the place.”

Paquette said that in his interview what really stood out to him was the response to a question he asked. Paquette asked ‘What could he get from Coastal that he couldn’t get from reading the website?’ Paquette received this answer from University Council member Tim Meacham, who is also a Coastal alum.

“Meacham told me that ‘Coastal is really a place that you can come as a nobody and leave as a somebody’,” said Paquette. “That is the best synopsis of what it felt like to be a member of this institution.”

While Paquette began his new role at Coastal Carolina about two weeks before Spring Commencement, he did go into detail about what his goals are for his first academic year as the acting Dean of Students.

“One of the biggest things I plan to work on is just getting myself out there on campus,” said Paquette. “Pretty much market myself, you know? Who I am and what my role is on this campus. I also want to work on some of the things that don’t really interest students much but definitely play a role in their time on campus. I’m talking about things like policies and executive decisions, that sort of thing.”

While Paquette and two other candidates did apply and visit campus for the potential role of Dean of Students involved a lot of executive members from Coastal Carolina, the selection process did include some Coastal Carolina students.

Adrian Anderson, a senior from Sumter, South Carolina, was a part of selection process and was able to have lunch with all three candidates. He gave his take on what it was like selecting a new Dean of Students.

“I was super excited to be a part of the selection process,” said Anderson. “I am a senior now and thing I have been reflecting on a lot is legacy. What do I want to leave the University with? And what bigger impact can a person have than being a part of a group that is going to hire someone that will write and enforce policy for the next ten to fifteen years.”

Anderson talked about what stood out to him about Dean Paquette.

“Dean Paquette was the most willing to learn about the job and grow,” said Anderson. “He is very new in this field since he just finished up his PhD and was very eager to work with everyone.”

While Dean Paquette is new to the position, he does have a long-term goal for the himself, the student body and the University as a whole.

“I would like students to come to Coastal and be their authentic selves,” said Paquette. “That really isn’t a part of a five-year plan, that is something I strive to see in students every day. However, if that is not happening, then that is something I would definitely look into and see what type of systematic barriers there are and why that is going on. I also look forward to working with university officials, both those who have been here awhile and those who have been recently hired like myself.”

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