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University of Maryland's Wais named Stanford dean of students
STANFORD -- Marc Lee Wais, assistant vice president for student affairs at the University of Maryland-Baltimore, has been appointed dean of students at Stanford University, Vice Provost and Dean for Student Affairs Mary Edmonds has announced.
Wais, who has served as the chief student affairs officer at UM-Baltimore since February 1992, will assume his new position on Sept. 17. He succeeds Michael Jackson, who in the spring left Stanford for the University of Southern California, where he is vice president for student affairs.
Wais, 38, said he plans to maintain a friendly, "open-door" policy as dean of students. Divisions under Wais will include the Judicial Affairs Office, the ethnic and community centers, student organizations, student activities, Greek life, the Bechtel International Center, Tresidder Memorial Union, the Disability Resource Center and the new student orientation program.
The Office of the Dean of Students at Stanford has about 50 employees and an annual operating budget of about $4 million.
James Larimore, acting dean of student affairs since Jackson left, was not a candidate for the permanent position. Larimore, formerly assistant dean of students and director of the American Indian Program, is pursuing a doctorate at the Stanford School of Education.
James Montoya, dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aids and chairman of the 18-member national search committee, said Wais was selected from among five finalists, each of whom met with students as part of the search process.
"Marc's breadth of administrative experience and his academic background immediately impressed the search committee as we evaluated the 70 or so resumes submitted for the position," Montoya said. "Upon meeting him, it was clear that his high level of energy, his love of working with students and his appreciation for a residential university committed to teaching and research would make him an ideal dean of students."
"We are delighted to have Marc Wais come to Stanford as dean of students," said Provost Condoleezza Rice. "He brings a wealth of experience to the position, and we were particularly impressed with his interest and commitment to be involved in the day-to-day lives of our undergraduate and graduate students.
"He is a dynamic and interesting person and will be a wonderful part of the Stanford family."
At Stanford, Wais will be the primary face of the administration to 14,000 students, slightly more than half of them graduate students.
"I'm very interested in finding ways to bridge the gap between the students and Stanford," Wais said. "I see the office of the dean of students as a potentially valuable resource for all students, including graduate students, and I am going to work very hard to make sure that the students see it as a resource, not an obstacle."
Wais said he plans to work closely with the other directors under Edmonds, and faculty and staff outside of student affairs, and said he looked forward to working in "the incredibly stimulating environment that is student life at Stanford.
"The most important thing is that, as dean, I want to be known as being accessible," Wais said. "I plan on doing a lot of listening -- we have two ears and one mouth and I plan on using them in proportion."
The administrative area Wais will manage at Stanford is somewhat narrower than the one he runs at UM-Baltimore, which includes records and registration, financial aid, health services, housing and athletics, all areas under different managers at Stanford. Wais said he was looking forward to the change.
"The way student affairs is structured here should allow me to pay a lot more attention to specific areas, and do more for students, and be less of a bureaucrat," he said.
Another major change facing Wais is the composition of the student body. At UM-Baltimore, there are only about 1,000 undergraduates to 4,200 graduate students, most of them in professional schools.
"The opportunity to become closely involved once again with undergraduates was probably the top factor in my decision to seek this position," Wais said. "And, after spending virtually all of my life on the East Coast, I've always dreamed of working and living in the Bay Area."
Wais holds a doctorate in education from Harvard, two master's degrees -- one in higher education and human development from George Washington University and one in organizational behavior from the University of Miami -- and a bachelor's degree in business management from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
As an undergraduate at Fairleigh Dickinson, Wais was a resident adviser and served as editor- in-chief of the campus newspaper. Under his direction, the newspaper was rated "All- American" for the first time in the university's history.
Wais started his professional career in student affairs with positions at the University of Miami and George Washington University, and spent a year in academic affairs at York College of Pennsylvania. After completing his doctoral requirements he was appointed assistant dean of students at Fairleigh Dickinson in 1987, and served in that capacity until July 1989, when he was named dean of students.
He was dean of students at Fairleigh Dickinson until 1992, when he began his current job at the University of Maryland-Baltimore.
Wais taught freshman seminars at Fairleigh Dickinson, and principles of management and organizational behavior at York College, and has made numerous presentations at national and regional conferences for education professionals.
He and his wife, Sue, are the parents of two daughters: Ashleigh, 3, and Jennifer, 11 months.
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