On Tuesday, August 26, Vice-Chancellor John McCardell held a Launching of the New Year celebration in All Saints’ Chapel where he announced that Dean of Students, Dr. Eric Hart-man, would be taking on a new role as Vice President of Risk Management and Institutional Effectiveness. This semester will be Hart-man’s last as Dean of Students, as his new position starts January 1, 2015. As the first leader to hold this position, Hartman admits that it is a “work in progress” with a very broad title, but he hopes to mold the position to focus on what is best for the University and the student body. Hartman, when asked about risk management, recalled the scrutiny that many institutions have succumbed to be-cause of a tendency to take for granted new federal regulations and other risk factors that may not seem much of a risk at all to someone on the outside looking in. Federal mandates in policy, especially in regard to topics like Title IX and sexual misconduct, have improved and schools that do not take steps to implement these mandates are being investigated at every turn. Hartman’s new position is a way to ensure that the University is paying attention to these federal regulations and can make the changes it needs to evolve with time. Hartman also spoke of risk as the guarantee of new and returning students and how that number depends on many things, including the University’s reputation in many fields. Hartman hopes to look at the misgivings of other institutions, as well as holes in Sewanee’s procedures and “convert [them] into policies and training.”
Hartman also touched on the reevaluation of systems and technology at Sewanee in order to have the institution run more smoothly and to make lives of students simpler from day to day. The integration of new technologies as the student body increases in order to better communicate to students to issues or events that are directly pertaining to them is an idea that Hartman has proposed in addition to his other duties.
In Hartman’s new role, many of his goals and ideas will become long-term, strategic changes within the University. He will be busying himself with looking at the details and finding the roots of issues in our policies. The University will start a search for someone to fill the position of Dean of Stu-dents to deal with the more acute, day to day problems. A search, ac-cording to Hartman, that will be the first of its kind, because the posi-tion has been “passed down” in a sense since Mary Sue Cushman first held it. Hartman stated that he felt the new position “should not look the same” from when he held it and that the new Dean’s strengths should be “different from the last skill set.” Ultimately, Hartman wants growth in the position represented by a leader who will go above and beyond what Hartman was able to accomplish.
As Dean of Students, Hartman is heavily involved with the student body on a daily basis. He expressed “some degree community on campus ing from his position as Dean, because he says it is “one of the most meaningful positions” at Sewanee, and he cannot be sure whether that involvement with students will endure during his time as Vice President. With the broad spectrum of changes and reforms he is likely to accomplish as Vice President, he hopes that “training across the institution…will include students.” When asked about accusations that many of Sewanee’s policies are outdated, Hartman responded by saying, “That’s at the heart of it.” He continued, ex-pressing that many used to believe that Sewanee is “so unique, those rules don’t apply. That’s not the case anymore.” Hartman concluded his remarks on his new position by stating that, “in some ways it’s a daunting job, but that’s always what I’ve been drawn to.” Hartman says that, despite changing positions, there are some things he will not voluntarily give up, such as being the POSSE liaison as well as faculty advisor to Perpetual Motion.