Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

New staff bring fresh perspectives to admissions

The Office of Admissions and Financial Aid brought new faces to campus this summer after former admission officers decided to leave Whitman for other positions. Three admission officers are replacing outgoing officers Katie DePonty and PJ Petrone, and a nationwide search is in progress to replace Kevin Dyerly, former director of admissions.

“Some of this is a normal, natural cycle,” said Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Tony Cabasco. Younger officers often want to go to graduate school or pursue other options after a few years, and other professional opportunities crop up that allow more seasoned officers new responsibilities.

“This allows us to refresh the staff and have the opportunity to bring in some new folks who bring new perspectives to campus,” Cabasco said.

DePonty and Petrone have been replaced by Sadie Nott, Katherine Buckley, and, starting Sept. 10, Jeewon Lee. Nott and Buckley are 2012 graduates of Bowdoin College and Bates College, respectively, and Lee comes from a position as an admission officer at Pitzer College in California. The three are the only non-Whitman graduate admission officers, according to Cabasco.

The Director of Admission position remains unfilled. Dyerly announced he was leaving in June, and is now the vice president of enrollment at University of Redlands in California.

“A number of us have had to take on more responsibilities,” said Cabasco. “A lot of that primarily falls on my shoulders.” There are plans for an interim position to fill in during the gap, but no formal announcements have been made. Cabasco hopes to hire a new Director of Admission by this winter or spring.

“It is a challenge because anytime you are missing one staff member, a key leader like that, there’s certainly a gap there,” he said. But he said the unfilled position will not affect the admissions process for the class of 2017.

“A lot of the things that we do are [already] in process,” said Cabasco. “We have most of the pieces here. We have the processes, the workflow, the tasks built into what we do; we’re moving ahead. The ship keeps running.”

The Director of Admission is the supervisor for the day-to-day actions in the Office of Admissions. The position directly oversees the admission officers, works on recruitment plans and strategies, and works with the Director of Financial Aid on financial aid policies. They also report directly to Cabasco, who reports to President George Bridges.

“I have to be much more engaged with the admissions office than I normally would,” said Cabasco. “It’s just making sure that all the mailings are going out on time, that the web page is being updated, that the admission officers have the guidance that they need to be successful, [and that] someone [makes] sure the recruitment plan that we’ve developed is being implemented. A number of us are taking a look at all that.”

In the hiring of new staff members, the admissions office employs similar strategies as when looking to admit prospective students.

“It’s good to have people with different outside experiences,” said Cabasco. “When you have that mix of admission officers, they bring all different perspectives to the table. That variety is important when we’re talking about how we craft and build a Whitman community.”

New Admissions Center staff Katherine Buckley (left) and Sadie Nott (right). Photo by Charlie Li.

Nott and Buckley both felt that Whitman held similar values to their own institutions.

“I had a great time speaking passionately about liberal arts [at Bowdoin] and wanted to continue to do that here,” said Nott.

Buckley said that because she brings an outside perspective from a different institution, she believes she has the ability to “[pick] up on what really does make Whitman stand out.”

“It’s important to have different kinds of perspectives [and] different kinds of people on the team,” said Cabasco. “Just as in a classroom, this would be less interesting if we all had the same kinds of folks who approach work, approach life, and approach how they view recruitment or whatever it might be in the same way. You want a variety of folks on your admissions staff.”


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