Sitting down with Dean Schurick

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By Matt Olson

The Admissions decisions have been sent out. Now, the wait is on to determine the incoming freshmen of the class of 2016. All students are required to send a deposit in by May 1 to secure their spot at Union. Among those waiting for their arrival is Dean of First-Year Students Kate Schurick.

Schurick began her role as Dean in 2002. She has witnessed 10 incoming classes, all of which have had their own unique characteristics, but also have some underlying similarities.

“Most, if not all, students at Union are here to make the campus and community a better place. Students are excited to be here, find their unique niche, and develop new relationships,” she said.

However, Schurick stated that there is the size of the class is a main facture in determining its uniqueness. The class of 2015 was the largest class in Union’s 217-year history, and the incoming class should be about the same size.

“In a small class, students seem to be more relaxed in the environment. Most of this has to do with the space Union can provide. This is especially true during winter term. When there is a small class, there is usually extra space in the residence halls for students seeking quiet time away from their roommate. In a large class such as this one, that isn’t always the case,” Schurick said.

Academics is also a key factor of this new class. According to statistics, the Class of 2016 is the “smartest class on record.” Dean Schurick was cautious, however, to make this assertion.

“Every class at Union brings a lot of life to the campus. The nature of this school attracts certain people. However, I’m not in the classroom to see if the students are actually smarter. But, for me, academics is just a key part to what makes the college experience, and ultimately what makes a good student, here at Union.” Schurick also attributed extracurricular activities to this.

Schurick plays a key role in the orientation program for every freshman student. On the last day of orientation Schurick gives a farewell speech to parents, as well as a welcoming speech to the new students. In this speech, Schurick hopes to get a few points across to the new students.

“The main thing I want to get across in my speech, and this is more geared at the parents, is that four years at Union is a developmental period for every student, whether they like it or not. It’s about students relying on themselves to make important decisions, not on anyone else to make them for the students. But I stress that it’s all okay. I want all of the first-years to develop a sense of self and to remind themselves not to sell themselves short.”

Schurick also stressed that it’s important for the new class to quickly learn how to balance academics and clubs in order to take advantage of the college experience. This is why Student Activities purposely schedules Club Expo the Friday following orientation.

Dean Schurick stated, “If it’s true that the Class of 2016 is the largest on record, space will be tight, and the resident advisors and resident directors will have a large burden on themselves. Nevertheless, all of us are always up to the task of making the transition as smooth as possible for the new incoming class.”

In September, the class of 2016 will come to Union, ready to make their lasting impression on this school.

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