Former Dean of Student Life Joseph Cassidy bid farewell to the University of Dallas on Oct. 13 to join the staff of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York on Oct. 24.
Cassidy served as the Dean of Student Life at UD since 2010 and is pursuing a similar career at Rensselaer. He will hold the position of director of Rensselaer Union, an organization and building similar to UD’s Haggar University Center, but with “20,000 square feet and an $8 million operating budget,” according to Cassidy.
The Rensselaer Union employs 25 full-time and approximately 200 part-time workers. Since it is run by the students, he admitted with a smile that he will be reporting to undergraduates.
Although he “really enjoyed working with the students and the great faculty colleagues” at UD, Cassidy saw the job in New York as “a great opportunity.”
Cassidy views his departure as bittersweet.
“I will miss this school, but I also know that [the students] will be left in good hands,” he said.
Denise Phillips, the executive director of Mission and Ministry, agreed to serve as Interim Dean until a new candidate is hired. Phillips has worked in the campus ministry department at the university since 1995.
“I have a rapport with the students, because I’ve been here so long, and I understand the culture of the university,” she said.
In her time here, Phillips has coordinated with the Office of Student Life on many occasions. However, since she will continue to hold her position in Campus Ministry as she takes on new duties, John Plotts, the vice president of Student Affairs, will also assume some of her responsibilities.
Phillips said the duties Plotts will assume include “budgets and projections.” She said his help will leave her “time to pay attention to the students.”
“We complement each other,” she said.
In addition Dore Madere, the cross country and track head coach, will “deepen the bench at Student Life,” according to Phillips. Because Madere has experience with UD students, the interim dean hopes to capitalize on her energy, creativity and focus to “keep things growing.”
Phillips said she will remain as a temporary dean until the end of the school year and until a new director can be hired. She predicted the search will begin in February or March.
Although she admitted the transition might be rough, Phillips said that she looks “forward to coming to work every day.” And while she is “sorry that [Cassidy] needed to leave in the middle of the semester,” she is confident that he will succeed at Rensselaer. “When you are happy, you do a better job,” she said.