Two offices that are the most connected to student life at Gustavus, Residential Life and Dean of Students, underwent some exciting personnel changes prior to the new academic year.
Steve Bennett has been at Gustavus for 21 years, and this summer, he transitioned from the Dean of Students Office to the Gustavus Advancement team, where he will be a Gift Planner, serving donors in California, Nevada, Utah, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and the Twin Cities.
With Bennett’s departure from Team Dean, Charlie Potts is relocating from his current office to one a few doors down, moving from being the Director of Residential Life to his new position as Assistant Vice President for Student Life in the Dean of Students Office.
Potts graduated from Gustavus in 2001, received his Masters and Doctorate degrees from the University of Minnesota, and began working at Gustavus in the Residential Life office in 2011.
During his seven years in Residential Life, Potts was also an Assistant Dean for the Dean of Students Office.
Since his new office is only a few feet from his old department, Potts plans on staying connected with Residential Life and being involved in some capacity.
“I’ve loved working in Residential Life, and they are a strong part of the student experience. For years I’ve worked hard to make it a student-centered atmosphere and be an advocate for improving living conditions,” Potts said.
Potts has been pushing for renovations in Pittman and Norelius since he started and now, “[he is] leaving right when they are finally being implemented,” Potts said.
Potts is confident he is leaving Residential Life in the capable hands of the team and looks forward to upcoming changes in the Dean’s office.
“We are moving to a ‘Class Dean’ model, where each of the Deans are dividing up the class years so we can be a ‘point person’ for students in that class.
Our plan is to follow the class during their years and always be there for them,” Potts said.
The idea behind it is to have a designated person to provide support, connection, and coordination of resources to help students while they’re here.
Potts will take the class of 2020 and 2022; Megan Ruble is the class dean for 2021; and JoNes VanHecke will lead the senior class of 2019.
Heather Dale will also be assisting the office as the part-time assistant dean, splitting her time between the Dean’s and Health Services.
Potts’ initial impression of his new position is pure excitement. “We exist to help students that need help. Part of the job is holding up the really positive things students do, and certainly focus attention on student achievement, but also help students develop the across from the Anderson Theater is part of this expansion as well as a cafe and a large lobby where the arts will be celebrated.
Phase two will start in July 2019 and will be completed in Aug. 2020.
It consists of the renovation of the 90,000 square feet building and a 15,000 square feet expansion to the north.
This north expansion will have three floor levels and a large two story atrium where the sciences will be celebrated.”
skills they need to be successful. I love that it is both helping and promoting the student experience,” Potts said.
Charlie Potts knows firsthand what it means to be a Gustie and can bring this extensive experience to the Dean’s office. “Working in Residential Life gives a different perspective of the student experience, [because we] really see 24/7 all the facets of what it means to live on a college campus. Having been involved so intimately with student experience these last few years I can bring an understanding of student challenges, not just what happens during the day, but 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Potts said.
As Potts heads off to a new office, we welcome Anthony Bettendorf to the Gustavus community as the Director of Residential Life.
Originally from Foley, Minnesota, Bettendorf received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota in Ancient Roman History, masters from Western Illinois University in College Student Development, and Doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Minnesota.
While working towards his Doctorate, Bettendorf worked at the University of Minnesota before becoming an Assistant Dean at the University of Iowa.
When asked ‘Why Gustavus?,” Bettendorf said, “I saw the posting for the Gustavus position and the thought of being able to lead a residential life department and set vision and direction for the department definitely peaked my interest.”
After learning more about Gustavus, Bettendorf “felt strong connections. [He] became more familiar with the strategic plan here and the actions people are taking regarding diversity and social justice peaked [his] interest because it is an area of passion for [him],” he said.
Bettendorf has only been on campus for a few weeks, but already has plenty of praise to extend to his new team in the Residential Life office. “They are fantastic,” Bettendorf said. “They amaze me on a daily basis. They get me excited to come to work.”
Bettendorf was here for Collegiate Fellow (CF) trainings and noted the team atmosphere and their important role in residential life. “The CFs brought a whole level of energy to campus, they gave me a taste of campus and then I knew this job was going to be fun,” Bettendorf said.
Outside of the office, Bettendorf enjoys baking, films, and theater. “Often times I’ll catch at least one movie on the weekend,” Bettendorf said, and he looks forward to exploring instrumental, vocal, and performing art performances at Gustavus. “I’m excited to see different activities on campus and my dad already wants to come down and watch a football game this season,” Bettendorf said.
As the academic year begins, there is a new energy surrounding student life as exciting additions join our Gustavus community and familiar faces explore new positions on our campus.