Over this summer, various departments at Wittenberg went through several staff changes. Jon Duraj, the previous Director of Student Activities, became the Associate Dean of Students for Student Success and Retention, with Elizabeth Vaccaro taking his old spot. In addition, Laura Siemon has replaced Sonya Zugelder as Manger of Student Employment.
Most of these changes were initiated on August 15, just before most students began arriving on campus. In both of these departments, Wittenberg employees are looking to enhance the student experience. With his new position, Duraj hopes to work with Mary Jo Zembar, the Assistant Provost, to initiate student success. Some of his major goals include connecting students to needed support and resources for inside and outside the classroom and identify effective ways to contribute to student success. Duraj states that he and Zembar have already begun meeting with students, offices, and departments to gather new ideas.
“Moving into my new role was a decision I made with great care and excitement,” said Duraj. “I am able to serve in a role that allows me to make an impact on a student’s experience while helping coordinate ways to set students up for success at Wittenberg and beyond.”
Duraj began working at Wittenberg three years ago after graduating from the university, with the aim of serving the school. He decided to move to his new role because he believes that this position will allow him to work collaboratively across Wittenberg and work with partners in Academic Services. With Zember, Duraj plans on working towards a consistent student experience across the for each person that comes to Wittenberg.
After his shift to his new role, Duraj stated that Wittenberg went through an intensive search to find a new Director of Student Activities. Elizabeth Vaccaro became the new Director of Student Activities when the search had finished.
“Elizabeth brings a wealth of knowledge and experience is campus programming, student organization management, and operating a campus student center to name a few,” said Duraj. “I am excited to have Elizabeth join the team in this capacity.”
Around this time, Siemon also took over the position as Manager of Student Employment. While Siemon comes to Wittenberg from her position in records at Clark State Community College, she is not a stranger to the campus. Previous to her job at Clark State, she worked as a campus visit coordinator for four and a half years at Wittenberg.
“I am very excited about this new position,” said Siemon. “I believe Sonya did a wonderful job in this position, but was ready to enjoy some private time.”
She stated that her current goal for the position is to get all student’s employment positions on campus, work awards, and other related matters set up for the academic year. After this, she hopes to begin focusing on other ideas.
Each of these members of the Wittenberg staff stated that their hope this year is to serve the students. In each of these roles, Duraj, Vaccaro, and Siemon plan to use their skills and ideas to enhance student experience on campus.