MOVES TO STUDENT ADVOCACY
As Nancy Kwasteniet sat in
her new office in Groot Hall sifting through boxes, she continued to sort
through the reality of changing jobs at Trinity.
"I'm a bit surprised that
I accepted this position," said the College's new director of academic
support and services. "When I talked with President (Steven) Timmermans
and Ginny (Carpenter, vice president of student development)), their
enthusiasm about the possibilities and challenges within the position convinced
me to try it. Even before I interviewed, I sensed that the Lord had been
directing my path to this point all along."
Kwasteniet had been a professor
in Trinity's education department for six years. She rewrote the special
education curriculum to meet the State of Illinois' standards and watched
the program blossom to include more than 60 majors and minors. The difficult
decision to step out of the classroom was made a bit easier by the assurance
of individual interaction with students.
"I may not interact with
as many students as I'm accustomed to, but I'll be able to give more personal
attention to them," she said. "I will continue to teach, but it won't be
in the same context."
Carpenter is confident that
Kwasteniet, who replaced Felecia Thompson, is qualified and capable of
flourishing in academic support and services.
"Nancy knows and understands
higher education," Carpenter said. "She has experience in special education,
she has worked with students who have learning disabilities, and she has
developed programs that not only support students but also are sensitive
to faculty concerns. She has the tools to build on what's been established
in that area."
Kwasteniet is certain to
encounter some situations that will demand tough resolutions. She hopes
to find options that are beneficial to students and faculty alike.
"There will be a lot of judgment
calls and decisions that will affect students' futures," she said. "I'll
work with individuals who have learning disabilities and other challenges
to discover ways that will enable them to find success at the college level.
Knowing when to push them and when to support them will be critical.
"I believe I have a good
rapport with the faculty, which will help me advocate for students. These
relationships will enable us to find ways of matching students' learning
styles with effective teaching methods."
Support and Services