A year later, Greek life gets new director
Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 09:09
Tufts has hired Tanya McGinn Paolo as the new director of fraternity and sorority affairs, filling a year-long vacancy of the position.
The previous director, Patrick Romero-Aldaz, left Tufts in June 2009 to accept a job as the director of fraternity and sorority life at the University of South Florida. Tufts did not hire a new director immediately due to a university-wide hiring freeze imposed due to the economic downturn. Instead, Dean of Student Affairs Bruce Reitman acted as interim director for the past year.
Reitman, citing Paolo's vast experience with Greek affairs, believes she is well-equipped for her new role.
"She's been a leader in the field for a long time, so we're lucky we have somebody with her level of experience and background," he said.
Paolo, who will take office on Sept. 22, has more than 10 years of Greek life experience, serving as Alpha Phi Northeast Regional Manager from 1999 to 2003. She hopes to start out her tenure at Tufts by building relationships with student leaders to establish goals for improving the Greek system.
"I think the first thing for me is really spending some time getting to know all of the student leaders and to learn more about the system," she said. "I think that they have a lot of the framework already in place, but I see my role as the opportunity to work closer with all of them, give them my advice and give them my ideas and suggestions that I have."
The existing Greek life infrastructure was one of the factors that attracted Paolo to take the position.
"I think a couple things probably drew me to Tufts," Paolo said. "I was excited about coming to an institution where they have a well-established, good Greek system with lots of history and tradition."
The search process for the new director began on July 1 with approximately 15 initial applicants, according to Reitman. A core group of students and faculty narrowed the field to five candidates, who were interviewed by phone. Four finalists visited the campus to meet with student leaders and others involved in the Greek system.
The final hiring decision was based on feedback from those visits, as well as references from candidates' previous jobs, Reitman explained.
The search focused on candidates who had experience at schools whose size and Greek life were similar to Tufts', according to Reitman.
"The issues that arrive on the campus where there's a Greek system and half the campus is a member of fraternities or sororities are different in nature than the issues that come up on a campus like Tufts," Reitman said. "We did not go for people who didn't have a background in managing systems that were similar to Tufts'."
Reitman expressed satisfaction with the final result.
"I couldn't be happier," Reitman said. "[Paolo] had good feedback about her candidacy from all different parts of the search committee. I think the Greek system is getting a new director to really bring it to the next level."
Senior Daniel Wittels, president of Theta Chi, praised Reitman's service as interim director but said that the appointment of a full-time director was a much-needed move.
"While he's done a good job as Greek director, I think that it was clear that it was a little too much to keep up," Wittels said.
Junior Andrew Brinson, president of Delta Tau Delta, said communication with the university administration was at times difficult last year due to the lack of a Greek director.
"The dialogue on the whole between university and fraternities was a little less than optimal," Brinson said. "Sometimes it was hard to get in touch with [Reitman] because he had other things going on."
He added, however, that Reitman provided thoughtful leadership for the Greek system.
"He did a great job with it," Brinson said. "We could talk to him about whatever we wanted to and he would tell us what the rules were, what our liabilities were, and I never felt pressured."
Paolo has most recently served as the director of student activities at Johnson and Wales University since 2007, a job that included running the fraternity and sorority life program. Prior to that, she was a Greek advisor at Bryant University and a graduate student advisor for Greek life while at Emporia State University. She is also a member of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisers (AFA).