Julie Thornton, Carleton’s new Associate Dean of Students, has begun her first term at Carleton.
Thornton says that she is excited for her new position because “the variety in it is appealing. It is not just one thing that I will be doing, for example, not just campus activities. I will be working with many different students, not just the leaders. Yes, I will be working with the RAs, but I will also be working with students in crisis or students in need of support. I am looking forward to having a broad range of interactions with students and colleagues campus wide.”
Thornton brings a diverse set of experiences to the position. She is originally from Minnetonka, Minnesota and spent two years at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon before transferring to St. Olaf, where she graduated. She went on to get her masters at Illinois State University. Thornton says that she is “excited to be back home”, since both she and her husband are from the area. She hopes to live here for a long time, since she has just moved her family, including two young children, from St. Louis, Missouri.
Since graduating from St. Olaf, Thornton has worked in Admissions at College of Saint Catherine as Assistant Dean of Students, Director of Residential Life at Illinois Wesleyan University, for 3 years as Dean of Students at Saint Mary’s University and as Director of Student Activities at Washington University in Saint Lewis for 5 years.
Of her past experience, she says that she has “dabbled in lots of areas,” including coaching track and field in addition to these positions and managing disabilities services, which was also part of her graduate assistantship.
Thornton believes she has the experience to succeed in her position. She said, “Carleton is a private school, [the kind I am used to working at].” At the same time, “Carleton has its own personality no school will ever be the same” Thornton said.
“I enjoy a good challenge and I image I will get that here just as I have at other places,” Thornton said.
Of her new position, Thornton says she “loves it, particularly the res life portion…I’ve been out of [res life for a comparatively] long, [time], and [miss] the issues and variety that is part of res life…[everything] from crisis management to roommate conflicts… as well as the facility component and staffing.”
Another reason Thornton sights for looking forward to the res life piece of her position, she says, is “I enjoy communicating with parents and helping students and parents work things through.”
Thornton also said, “I am good at building relationships with folks… if you were to ask people at Wash U they would say I am good at building relationships and being an active participants in the community…and, from what I gather it is all about relationships at Carleton”.
One of Thornton’s biggest projects is to find a new Director of Campus Activities and an Assistant Director. She said in explanation of T.Todd’s 4 months of service as Carleton’s last Director of Campus Activities, “In any position when you are hiring you have to have the proper involvement in campus. I should not assume anything about T. Todd in his position but it is important to involve all types in the interview process. Maybe it was just not the right fit for T. Todd. I would like to believe it has nothing to do with the position or department.”
“I hope my involvement here can help the campus activities office. I don’t think I will be able to bring anything state of the art but I was to bring the activity back to campus activities…I’ve hit the ground running. ”
So far, Thornton, considered Carleton a good fit for her. She said, “I feel outstanding [about] my 7 days of employment. I have good leadership with Hudlin Wager and good colleague relationships.”
“Based on the conversations I’ve had with the few students… I get the sense that people really care about each other here. I think the students here are very smart…active and involved . It is fun to talk to students who know what they are talking about….I have been impressed to say the least….At this point what I’m gaining is a huge knowledge base about Carleton.”
One surprise for Thornton is her lack of Carleton facebook friends. “I’m surprised that facebook is not used so much here, compared to Wash U. I only have 2 Carleton friends.” She encourages more students to friend her.
Thornton also notes that she was involved in many sports during college, including rugby, as well as the radio station and has already been invited to be on an ultimate team. “Expect to see my and my family at Carleton stuff…we already have our Carleton gear.”
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