In addition to meeting with some of the new hires in the Dean’s Office, the Clerk sat down with three veteran Haverford College employees who have recently taken on new roles in the Dean’s Office. We spoke with Alex Samors, Health Advocate, Case Manager, and Access Coordinator; Raquel Esteves-Joyce, Associate Dean of Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and Kelly Wilcox, Dean of Academic Learning and Career Advising and Senior Associate Dean of the College. Referring to these three and many of their colleagues who have been at Haverford for a while, Dean of the College John McKnight expressed: “The team who’s already here is outstanding.”
Before moving to the Dean’s Office, Alex Samors was an academic coach in the OAR starting in the fall of 2019. While working as an academic coach, Samors fostered bonds with students and helped connect students to other resources. They expressed, “I feel really proud of the connections I was able to help students make within themselves, within their peers, etc.” While they now have a new role in the Dean’s Office, they want to continue providing students with necessary resources within the College: “I really want to help make very clear the resources and the structures that exist at Haverford for students.”
As both the Health Advocate and the Case Manager within the Dean’s Office, Samors noted their role is “multi-fold.” In the Health Advocate role, one of their main jobs is to help Haverford students navigate any health issues that might arise, including providing help with health insurance. They are even open to speaking with families about these issues, especially those concerning insurance. They also work side-by-side with Access and Disability Services (ADS) and can help to connect students to resources in that office. Samors encourages students to reach out about anything and schedule a meeting with them: “You don’t need to know what you need help with in order to come talk.”
Another part of their position in the Dean’s Office is connecting with other institutions that center around holistic support, specifically for students struggling with their health. According to Samors, the goal of these connections is to learn from and teach other schools how to handle various situations that arise to best support students.
Raquel Esteves-Joyce held many other jobs at Haverford before her recent appointment as Associate Dean of Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She came to the College in 2012 as an employee for the Writing Center. Since then, she has served as a director in the OAR, Assistant Dean of FGLI Student Support and Programming, an advising dean, and an Interim Chief of Diversity Officer. Esteves-Joyce expressed that the students and colleagues have kept her at Haverford for a decade. About her co-workers, she said, “I learn from them every day, and I feel incredibly supported, and I’m thankful for the teams that I’ve been able to be a part of.”
In her new role as Associate Dean of Student, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Esteves-Joyce is focusing on two main goals: expanding and improving the THRIVE initiative, which began under ex-Interim Dean of the College, Joyce Bylander, in response to the student strike in 2020, and partnering with offices all over campus to kickstart DEI initiatives. Regarding this second goal, she expressed that the work has already begun. For example, she has worked with the Office of Service to create four work-study positions in the greater Ardmore community. She is partnering with the new director of the Center for Gender Resources and Sexual Education, Sayeeda Rashid, to support the LGBTQ+ community.
Esteves-Joyce is excited about her new role, especially in light of the current conversations on Haverford’s campus in response to the 2020 strike. She expressed, “I’m excited [with] the direction that Haverford is headed, I’m excited that this is front center in our work with students,” adding, “this is work that predates us, this is work that everybody is engaged with.” Since coming to the College, she emphasized that her work has always been student-facing, and she hopes to continue her direct contact with students.
Before taking on her new positions as Dean of Academic Learning and Career Advising and Senior Associate Dean of the College, Kelly Wilcox worked at Haverford as the inaugural director of the OAR, an advising dean, and the Dean of Health and Wellness and Learning Resources. She expressed that she has remained at Haverford for almost ten years because of “the values that are so deep.” She added, “There’s a deep moral code and set of values that guides Haverford.”
In her new positions, Wilcox is in charge of the advising deans, and she is working to change the structure of the advising program with a focus on equity and accessibility. For example, group decision-making among all advising deans will now take place, and thus, policies will be consistent for students regardless of who is their advising dean. She also wants to make the values of advising deans more precise and be transparent about them with students.
Another aspect of Wilcox’s role is creating synergy between all of the offices within the Dean’s Office, including the CCPA, the OAR, ADS, and the advising deans. Wilcox explained, “We’ve always been collaborative and it’s even more intentional collaboration and synergy.” She added that this collaboration is important because “it better reflects the lived experience of students,” who very often access multiple of the four offices. Therefore, Wilcox believes that they must work together. While doing so, she hopes that these offices will create and maintain long-term relationships with students, from before they step on campus to after they receive their diplomas.
After speaking to Samors, Esteves-Joyce, and Wilcox, it is clear that all three are enthusiastic about their new roles. Wilcox expressed, “I’m just excited, it’s a pivotal time to be at Haverford.”