New Deans to Lead Student Life and Academic Affairs

With a constant focus on strengthening and preserving Cazenovia College’s past, present and future, as well as its place in the highly competitive higher education environment, President Tierno announced several leadership and administration changes made at the College this summer.

Sharon Dettmer, appointed the new Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, joined President Tierno's Senior Staff on July 1st.  Sharon has been a member of the faculty at Cazenovia College since 1995.  She served as Chair of the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences from 2006 to 2012.  Sharon has spent considerable time overseas, including living and conducting research in Peru, Bolivia, Nepal, and India.  She led a group of our students who studied abroad in Canterbury during the fall of 2012.  She has taught courses focused upon American culture and society.  Sharon received the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2009, was a member of the College’s Self-Study Steering Committee – the group that guided the College through its recent reaccreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education – and is now serving as co-chair of the College’s 2013-2016 Strategic Planning Committee.
Jesse Lott has assumed the role of Dean for the First Year Program.  Jesse – who will continue to serve as Director of the Academic Learning Center – has many connections to the First Year Program and is an ideal selection to assume this leadership post.  He founded the First Year Summer College Program and has served as its Director since the mid-1980s; he is a long-standing member of Student Observation, Assessment and Retention (SOAR) Committee and a founding member of the First Year Committee; and has taught a number of First Year Seminar courses over the past decade.
Katie O’Brien has stepped into the post of Dean for Student Life and is now overseeing the Student Life, Campus Activities, Residence Life and Judicial Affairs responsibilities of the College.  The Dean for Student Life reports to the president.  Katie has served as a student life professional at the College since 2001, most recently as our Associate Dean for Student Leadership & Engagement.  She spearheaded the significant growth of student clubs and organizations over the past 12 years, advanced our student leadership development (including volunteer involvement in the Cazenovia community, the Alternative Breaks Program and others), strengthened the Student Government Association, and developed our student recognition programs and certifications, including establishment of a chapter of the student leadership society—Sigma Alpha Pi.
Tiffany Varlaro is our new Assistant Dean for Residence Life.  This position reports to the Dean for Student Life.  Tiffany has been employed at the College since 2006.  Before being promoted to Assistant Dean, Tiffany served successfully in progressively more responsible residence life and student life positions including Assistant Director of Residence Life, Director of the First Year Residential Program, and Director of Housing Operations.  In these positions, Tiffany worked with College staff and faculty on first year programming, Living-Learning Communities, housing assignments, and the residential programming for the First Year Summer College Program.
Michael Brooks has been promoted to Director of Intercollegiate Athletics (a/k/a athletics director) at the College.  In this new role, Mike reports to the president.  A 2001 Cazenovia alumnus, Mike has served successfully as Assistant Director and Associate Director of Athletics at the College since January 2011.  Prior to returning home to his alma mater as an employee, Mike served as athletics director at St. James School, in Maryland. He previously held posts as the assistant dean of students and head coach for the boys’ basketball team at St. James.
Christine Richardson has accepted the new role of Director of Career and Extended Learning Services, and will lead these two related outreach functions in order to provide career and extended learning services to students and alumni.  Employed at the College since 2007 as our Director of Career Services, Christine has provided comprehensive career development services to members of our campus community and has supervised the College’s Internship Program where she successfully implemented internship policies that more effectively serve students and internship sites.  She will now lead the College’s newly combined Career and Extended Learning operation.
Wayne Westervelt has assumed the role of Vice President for Marketing and Communications and continues as a member of the College's Senior Staff.  Wayne, who served as Director of Communications for the past nine years, will oversee both internal and external communications, crisis communications, media relations, and integrated marketing initiatives.  With this promotion, Wayne will now assume leadership of the College’s athletics marketing/external communications as well as partner with our admissions staff in further expanding our enrollment marketing agenda, including digital and social media enhancements.