Candidates for student affairs VP Anthony Voisin, Jason Bentley promote change, communication within the university
Anthony Voisin said his educational and professional backgrounds at Central Michigan University could help him in the position of Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs.
Voisin, current interim assistant vice president of student affairs and the second of three finalists for the position, participated in an open forum Wednesday morning.
Voisin, a CMU alum, has worked in student affairs at CMU since 1985, holding positions as a residence hall director, assistant director of residence life, director of student life and, most recently, interim dean of students.
“I’ve grown a lot professionally and personally in my role as interim dean,” he said.
He said CMU needs to focus on students graduating, reducing student debt, academic advising and supporting students and faculty.
In the next five years, he would like to see an increase in CMU’s student retention rate, along with more ethnic diversity and diversity among academic programs. He also said he wants to strengthen student programs such as the Volunteer Center and the Leadership Institute.
“We need to find ways to connect with students,” Voisin said.
Voisin said his personal and professional relationships at CMU and experience in student affairs set him apart as a candidate for the position.
“I think I’ve done a solid job of diversifying my experiences here,” he said. “My experiences stand for themselves, and I hope that serves me well.”
Jason Bentley, the final candidate for the position, had his forum Thursday morning and said CMU needs to focus on changing all the things about the university that aren’t working efficiently.
Bentley, long-time director of Central’s First Year Experience program, said his focus was on making necessary changes in many areas, including the recruitment of students.
He also touched on the use of the technology being used to retain students and firmly backed the Mapworks system currently in place.
“If you look at all the programs, they have problems,” Bentley said. “Whatever tool or equipment we have, we are going to have figure out the right strategy to make it work.”
He also said the student recruitment base has changed and the university must change its tactics.
“Any institution that thrives adapts. We have changing demographics that we need to adapt to,” Bentley said. “We’re not going to look the same as we look today as we will in ten years.”
Bentley said academic diversity is a necessity in universities.
“We are going to need to continue to have a diverse student population across the board. I think that strengthens us,” Bentley said. “It’s like any good ecosystem. It thrives when there is diversity.”
Bentley opposed the change in faculty pay rate and student tuition that could come with the changes to the academic calendar.
“I don’t know if there is enough information to say that this is a good model or not,” Bentley said.
Bentley said it would be vital for the university to talk with their faculty about their experiences with students, especially following the tumultuous year between faculty, staff and administration.
“We obviously have some healing to do and the way to do that is to spend time together,” he said.
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