VP of Student Affairs candidate discusses student needs, engagement at final open forum


Vice president of student affairs candidate Michael Jasek discussed advocating for students and increasing engagement and diversity on campus in the third and final open forum on April 15.

Jasek has worked in student affairs for 25 years. Most recently, he was the vice president for student affairs at Central Connecticut State University.

"If we're looking for an administrator that sits behind the desk, it's not going to be a good fit for me, and it's not going to be a good fit for the institution," he said. 

Jasek said his wealth of experience in student affairs is an asset for Central Michigan University. He said he views himself as an advocate for students and is often present on campus and at events to interact with and understand students desires' and concerns'.

"You will see me at programs and I do not expect to be given a spot to speak, I go to see the students in their environment," he said.

Jasek said he uses these interactions with students to learn about them.

"When something is being decided at the table, my job is to think about students and how the process that we're using will impact the students," he said.

Jasek said the first issue to address is declining enrollment. He said though it has been exacerbated by the pandemic, he can help boost it by meeting the needs of students

"If there's some roadblocks... (a student) is facing... that I can help with, I need to do my job and do that" he said. 

Jasek also said it is important to represent students of color. He said this can be done by including diverse food, music and art in campus events as it could allow students to feel more at home while offering others an opportunity to explore new cultures.

Jasek said encouraging students to be actively involved in CMU as early as orientation and adapting programs to help that happen will increase engagement.

"It's doing that program that's meeting the needs of the students, not the needs of the staff," he said.

Jasek said he would enjoy working with the university because of its size, location and President Bob Davies.

"The great thing is, we're going together with COVID coming (to an end), so that's a great opportunity to redefine the next chapter of the institution," he said.