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Fraternity and Sorority Life awaiting new position

The university is reviewing about 15 applications for the director of Fraternity and Sorority Life position, which was vacated in September, a university official said.

Mike Russel, executive director for student affairs administration, said he posted a listing on the university’s human resources Web site at the end of last semester, and the applicant pool is growing. He said he will let the applications accumulate before making his recommendation.

“I need somebody who has worked with fraternity and sorority life before and has a thorough understanding of international and national policies for the groups,” Russel said. “I need somebody who is a subject matter expert in the area.”

Though Russel is spearheading the search for the new director by reviewing the applications, he said Don Mills, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, will make the final decision.

Russel said he recruited Shannon Sumerlin, a previous applicant, to serve as interim director of Fraternity and Sorority Life until Mills hires a new director.

“Shannon was a candidate for the Fraternity and Sorority Life director the last time we hired,” Russel said, noting that Sumerlin removed herself from the candidate list to take another offer at Southern Methodist University.

Sumerlin said she left that position to spend time with her children. She joined the university staff to help with Panhellenic Council recruitment, she said.

Sumerlin did not confirm or deny whether she had applied for the position but added that she wants what is best for the university’s Greek community.

“This is one of the strongest Fraternity and Sorority Life staffs that I’ve seen compiled in the country,” Sumerlin said. “Whatever the institution feels is in the best interest for the Fraternity and Sorority Life community is what I hope will happen.”

When the new director is chosen, he or she could be the fourth staff member to join the Fraternity and Sorority Life staff since August, Russel said. Two of the three recent additions to the staff were placed in conference coordinator positions in charge of working closely with student leaders from the assorted fraternity and sorority councils. Sumerlin made the third person to join the staff since the beginning of the fall 2009 semester.

“I wish it wouldn’t have all happened in the same six months,” Russel said.

Russel said the changes in the Fraternity and Sorority Life are products of the nature of the job. He said those who fill the conference coordinator positions in the office typically stay for three to four years and leave for better professional opportunities.

“There are times when I can offer that enhancement within their current job or within the institution,” Russel said. “There are times that opportunities outside the institution are better suited for the candidate.”

Nancy Stockton, administrative assistant for Fraternity and Sorority Life, said she has occupied her position since November 2001. Stockton said that when the new director is selected, the office will be fully staffed and should operate more efficiently.

“I see good, positive changes coming,” Stockton said. “It’s exciting.”

Russel said he had not yet taken a serious look at the submitted applications and said he could not reveal any of the applicants’ names for privacy reasons.

The previous Fraternity and Sorority Life director, Katherine Reed, left the university in September for personal reasons, according to a Sept. 29 Skiff article.

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