Krebs’ successors look to better Pacific

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Almost two months after Eva Krebs’ passing, her role of Pacific’s Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students has been filled.
President Lesley Hallick announced to the Pacific community via email that the position had been split into two roles: Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, filled by Mark Ankeny, and Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, filled by Will Perkins.  Both men assumed these roles Sept. 1.
Ankeny has served as Pacific’s Dean of Education since 2006 and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. He confirmed that there would be people delegated to manage day-to-day occurrences to keep the college running smoothly.
He said that the “volume of students has decreased” in the College of Education due to the job market and that it is “not a good time to transition in a new person.”
As the VP of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Ankeny is responsible for ensuring that students admitted to Pacific are ones that will stay for their full education.
One of his biggest goals in his new position is to increase freshman retention. Ankeny said Pacific kept about 81 percent of last year’s freshmen, up from 75 percent the previous year, and that the target is to increase that percentage by 2 percent each year.
He said that encouraging and improving shared experiences among students, faculty and community is the way to achieve this objective. This includes groups like sports, music, drama, Greek life and clubs.
“This allows students to fulfill their passions with similarly-passioned people,” Ankeny said, offering a metaphor. “Some students have already jumped into the pool by joining groups. Some are halfway in and others are dipping their toe in the water to test it out.”
The “at-risk” students are the ones not interested in the pool at all, according to Ankeny. “We will align our efforts of working together to come up with strategies to encourage those individuals” to bond with the Pacific community.
“I see our collective role as both supporting and challenging students to be successful,” said Ankeny. “If it’s all challenge and no support, they’ll crash and burn. If it’s all support and no challenge, they’ll experience no growth.”
Concerned about administrative success, Ankeny said he told Hallick his vision was to be like a conductor and that he “needed to have good people to act as section leaders in order to play good music.”
This is why Krebs’ position was split, allowing some responsibilities to be transferred to Perkins.
“It frees me up to work with the College of Education and do larger strategic planning this fall,” said Ankeny. “It allows us to ready ourselves to reach Vision 2020, not reactively but proactively.”
“The way I see it is that the vice president’s role is the 30,000-foot vision, out into the future of where we’ll be,” said Perkins. “My role is more day-to-day, this month, this year, more planning this semester.”
Perkins served as assistant VP of student affairs from 2010 until Krebs’ passing, when he assumed her role in the interim. He said his new position as Associate VP of Student Affairs is a “natural growth of what I’ve done before.”
He will also fill the role of Dean of Students, one that has not been prominent on campus for more than five years.
“Being a dean is about supporting students,” said Perkins, “removing barriers between students and their academic and personal growth.”
According to Perkins, the best way to accomplish this is by being more visible and more closely aligned with the activities students are involved in. He has played a large role in orientation events over the past three years and was an integral part of Sign, Shake and Ring at the beginning of this semester.
“I want students to feel they can approach me and introduce themselves,” he said. “It’s nice to meet everyone if only for a few minutes.”
In a press release, Hallick said, “Will’s leadership in fostering an optimal environment for our students over the past several years has been invaluable. The new structure will allow the university to take full advantage of his knowledge and expertise in matters related to student life.”
Both Ankeny and Perkins agree that the direction of their positions is under construction.

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