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Re-Organization of Academic Affairs Results in 3 Promotions

By November 2, 2021Academics

Last month, Villa Maria’s restructured duties in order to optimize operations in Academic Affairs. As a result, 3 of the College’s seasoned staff members have been promoted. 

Elizabeth Kerr has accepted the new role of Assistant Vice President for Academic Success. 

Kerr joined the College in 2014 and has served it in several capacities. Most recently, Kerr was the director of the student success center. In this role, she was responsible for all operations in the Student Success Center including advising, tutoring, and supplemental instruction. She also oversaw the curriculum for the College’s first-year seminar course. Further, Kerr developed and implemented the procedures for all of the College’s accessibility services, which involved meeting directly with students and their families to implement academic accommodations based on disability.

In addition, Kerr worked closely with the Student Life Office to plan Student Success Days, a series of workshops designed to help incoming students transition from high school to college. 

Kerr serves the College as an adjunct faculty member, having taught English classes as well as Core 101. She is also the current chair of the Villa Maria’s Administrative Affairs Council.  

Her work has been published several times, and she has presented on various topics throughout Western New York and beyond.  

Kerr is a member of the WNY Advising Conference Committee, having served as the chair from 2020-2021, the WNY College Consortium and Disability Advocates CCAA, and the Assessment Network of New York. She served as the co-chair of the Academic Administrators Council from 2020-2021, and as the council president of the Augustana Lutheran Church from 2018 on.  

“Liz has been a committed and capable member of our academic team and we are excited about her stepping into this position,” said Dr. Giordano. In her new role, Kerr will take on the oversight of the Achieve Program and the Career Services area.

Secondly, DJ Schier has accepted the new role of Dean of Students.  

DJ came to Villa Maria in 2015 as the College’s director of student life. Since then, he has made an indelible mark on the Villa community, creating meaningful relationships with all members of the Villa community, especially its student body. In his current role, the director of student affairs, he manages student conduct, and supervises and oversees all student life programming and transition programs, including Accepted Student Day, Student Success Days, and New Student Orientations. Schier is also a Title IX Conduct Officer and Investigator. 

Moreover, Schier serves the College as an adjunct faculty member and is the chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. He served previously as the chair of the Administrative Affairs Council. In this role, he co-founded Denim for Dollars, an initiative that created an emergency student-relief fund.  

Schier has volunteered with the College Student Personnel Association of New York State since 2017, first as the vice president of membership and currently as the coordinator of educational partnerships. He was also the chair of the Western New York Student Leadership & Engagement Consortium in 2017.  

“DJ has demonstrated his talents and skills, time and again, over the last several years and is more than ready to assume an increased leadership role,” said Dr. Giordano.  

Among Schier’s new responsibilities will be oversight of the Care Center. 

Finally, Lucy Waite has accepted the new role of Director of Library Services and Instructional Resources. 

Waite joined the Villa Maria community in 2013 as the College’s reference and information literacy librarian. She quickly climbed the ranks, assuming the role of director of library services in 2015. In this role, Waite supervised all of the library’s operations. She regularly collaborates with faculty to further develop the library’s collection, appraises and deselects items from different collections as needed, and manages circulation and borrower services, including interlibrary loans.

Waite also works with the College’s Development Office to apply for and use grant funds for library improvement projects, like the Title III and Resource Sharing and Bibliographic Data Grants. 

Waite has served the College community on several committees, including the Middle States Commission on Higher Education Accreditation Steering Committee and the Administrative Affairs Council.  

She is a member of the Regional Advisory Committee of the Western New York Library Resources Council as well as the secretary of the Western New York/Ontario chapter of the Association of College and Research Libraries. Waite is currently a soprano in the Cheektowaga Chorale; she also served as the organization’s board of trustees.  

Her work has been published twice and she has presented at various conferences throughout New York State and Toronto, ON.  

Waite was named the 2020 winner of Villa Maria College’s Blessed Mary Angela Award. This award is given annually to an employee at the College who exemplifies its mission and core values

“Lucy is one of the most collegial, positive, and able administrators at the College,” said Dr. Giordano. “I am thrilled about this well-deserved opportunity to expand her responsibilities to include oversight and management of our book and supply distribution.”