NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

Dean of Students Office Relocates to Agile Strategy Lab

Sean Slusarz
Central King Building’s main entrance facing the clock tower.

NJIT’s Campus Center is the go-to hub for many students. The basement has club and game spaces, the first floor has eateries and lounges, the second has study and event areas, the third floor has the pub and skyway, and the fourth has some student-centered offices. The Dean of Students office also stood on the second floor; its purpose is to support scholars through general advisement, advocacy, special programs, problem-solving, and implementation of the Code of Student Conduct and policies under Title IX.  

However, on Dec. 12, the office announced its relocation to the Agile Strategy Lab on the Central King Building’s (CKB) lowest level. Dr. Marybeth Boger, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, explained why the switch had to happen — it needed more space.  

“For years and years, [while being located in the Campus Center,] our student population has continued to increase, and the needs continue to increase,” she said. “We went from having one dean, to two deans, and then we had three deans and also positions that support those deans.” Now, alongside Boger, there are three deans in the office with their respective teams: Sean Dowd, Senior Associate Dean of Students; Dr. Kristie Damell, Associate Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator; and Mark Bullock, Esq., Associate Dean of Students for Judicial Affairs.  

In the search for a new office area, Boger’s key consideration was that the location should still remain student-centric. “Were there potential spaces in Fenster Hall that could have worked? Yes, but that’s not really a student building,” she explained. “[Guttenberg Information Technologies Center, commonly known as] GITC, CKB, and the Campus Center, seem to be the choices. But there was really only space available in one of those.” 

While the Agile Strategy Lab allows for more room, there were some concerns about lower visibility and accessibility to the new establishment. Previously, you had to go up one flight of stairs or the elevator in the Campus Center, followed by a straight path to get to the office. Now, after entering CKB through the doors facing the clock tower, you have to go to the ground level, head to the back of the building, go down to the lower level, and turn a few times under the stairs. Alternatively, there is an entrance to the Lab on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, but students generally use the one in the central part of campus.  

Boger addressed these matters, acknowledging that “it doesn’t seem as if there’s a lot of foot traffic” in that area of the building: “The only part of that building I ever really knew was the Lab and Room 116, generally speaking. But when you think about that whole building — all the nooks and crannies, and study areas, all the study rooms that are available, that’s really an untapped area for a lot of students. 

“I only ever saw the Math and Science Engagement Center, but when I walked down that little hallway, and I saw this chemistry lab, I was amazed. This is really phenomenal,” she added. “I’m the one saying that, and I’ve been here for 20 years. We need to do some work to make sure students really know of these opportunities. What better group of people to do it than the Dean of Students office?” 

Within the space, the three main areas are the CARE Team, Title IX, and Student Conduct. A new hearing officer will be joining the Conduct team, and now it will have a space to hold hearings and any meetings with students as needed. Dowd’s CARE Team, if the budget allows, will also be seeing a new member to assist with better support for students. “Especially since COVID-19, a lot of students are just struggling with so many different things, and not everything is a counseling issue. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of, ‘How do you navigate the university? How do I talk to my professor? Why do I have to go to classes?’ Some people ask that question,” Boger added.  

Title IX already had its presence in the former office, but she said that the new space allows for more privacy when students come to talk to Damell about any issues at hand.  

Boger has followed a notable saying from the 1989 film “Field of Dreams”: if you build it, they will come. In other words, now that the Dean of Students is in CKB, the foot traffic will grow, and the office will continue to have events that will bring students its way. The opening celebration on Feb. 7 saw over 200 community members in attendance, and she hopes to see even more students in future events the office hosts.  

While another building change is not in NJIT’s immediate plans, Boger expanded on her vision: “Personally, my wish and my dream… I would love to see a student campus center that brings the club rooms out of the basement, so that when people walk through, they see that we have all these clubs. I would love to envision a campus center that’s larger than the one we have — in a lot of ways, we’ve outgrown the one that we have.” 

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