Residential Life seeks new director by mid-summer

Seth Freedland

Northwestern’s Residential Life staff is still dealing with the loss of a loved one, but now the rebuilding process begins.

Six weeks after Residential Life Director Gregg Kindle’s death, NU has begun its search for a new director.

William Banis, vice president for student affairs, said the search committee will look for someone “dedicated to working with students (and with) deep and substantial residential life managerial experience.”

Mary Desler, associate vice president for student affairs, will lead the committee, which will comprise students, staff and faculty. Banis said the group is currently “reviewing the position description and thinking through our needs.”

Residential Life controls undergraduate housing, Greek affairs, food services and many student programs. Interim Director Mary Goldenberg will continue filling the role until the search process is complete.

Kindle died Dec. 7 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after a months-long battle with a rare type of lymphoma.

The search will encompass current NU staffers as well as those from an external search, Banis said. The process will start with preliminary telephone interviews, and the committee will invite the top three or four candidates to campus for further meetings.

NU also will advertise nationally and locally in addition to using job-listing services. Banis said he hopes to have a candidate selected by mid-summer.

“The hiring season really goes into high gear in March,” Banis said, noting that NU will be present at national university residential life conferences in April and May.

Banis indicated his desire for a long-term commitment from whomever fills the position.

“We’re looking for someone who will provide leadership and be a shaping influence for programs and staff over time,” Banis said.

Members of the Residential Life department declined to comment for this story.

Jeremy Esposito, Interfraternity Council president, said the new Residential Life director needs to be accessible and should work with a “bottom-up, not top-down” mentality.

“The ideal university administrator works with students to see what they would like to get out of their education and what they would like their university to become,” said Esposito, a Medill senior. “The ideal administrator then works to make that happen, within reason.”

Banis said NU hires only staffers with the most modern training. Any candidate will have to be up-to-date with the “latest practices, theory, research and professional practices in their specific field,” he said.

“Here at student affairs we have a philosophy of continuous improvement,” Banis said. “We want (the Residential Life department) to be current with professional practice.”

However, Banis said it’s most important that the future Residential Life director will be “someone who will work well with the students and existing staff.”

The Daily’s Sarah Halasz contributed to this report.