Last week, a restructure of the Student Affairs department removed Matt Morrin from his position as director of Student Life & Engagement.
Dwayne Isaacs, associate director of the University Student Center, has assumed Morrin’s responsibilities. Isaacs was appointed to the position for one year by Regional Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Patricia Helton.
“I have proposed and received approval to reorganize key functional areas in Student Affairs with the goal of providing an even higher quality student experience level [than] we currently offer,” said Helton in a memo sent to student affairs staff Feb. 16.
The message detailed a number of position changes throughout the Student Affairs department. Among them, Isaacs was named as the temporary replacement for Morrin. The adjustments took effect Feb. 20.
“It was very humbling and I’m very flattered that she saw something in me,” Isaacs said. “It’s a critical role in the student experience.”
Isaacs’ new position includes oversight of leadership and student organizations including, the office of multicultural affairs, activities and programs, and adviser to Student Government and The Crow’s Nest.
Laraine Ruiz, acting student body president, has worked alongside Isaacs before and expects the transition from Morrin to Isaacs as SG’s adviser to be peaceful.
“Dwayne was one of the first people I met on campus, so we have a working relationship already,” said Ruiz, who spent two years working for Isaacs in the USC.
Jim Greene will take on the responsibilities of the USC’s operations, managing reservations and conferences and marketing in Isaac’s old role as associate director of the USC.
One of Isaacs’ first objectives will be to introduce himself to student leaders in an effort to learn how he can assist them.
“It’s going to be a lot of learning on my part,” said Isaacs. “I intend on listening a bit and making my rounds to visit with the leaders and find out what’s working and what they could use help with immediately.”
Isaacs acknowledged USF St. Petersburg’s status as a commuter school and said he has worked to improve the university experience for commuter students while working with the USC.
“At the USC, we started a commuter resource initiative with phone chargers, the Cove and expansion of The Reef,” he said.
Isaacs attended the USF Tampa campus from 2000 to 2005 to study business administration and pointed out that the St. Petersburg campus is going through a similar growth pattern as Tampa did in its early years.
“We are a commuter institution right now, but we are growing and we are changing,” said Isaacs. “So, coming from the Tampa campus, you probably wouldn’t believe it but that was a commuter institution as well.”
He expects the new dorm, scheduled to open in 2019, to transform St. Petersburg campus life.
“The new dorm will change the game in terms of what the on-campus experience feels like. It’ll change the game for what the commuter experience feels like,” said Isaacs. “We’ll grow beyond that because 550 new beds still won’t be enough, even with 1000 students living on campus.”
Ultimately, Isaacs feels that the onus to improve the student experience falls on everyone.
“The success of our students — whose job is that? It’s everyone’s job. No one department can claim that,” said Isaacs.
As interim director of student life and engagement, Isaacs’ new office will be within the Student Life Center, in the same space as Morrin’s old office. He aims to complete the transfer by early this week.
Photo by Devin Rodriguez | The Crow’s Nest