After growing up in Tennessee and working for the past 22 years in Florida, Richard Walker, the assistant vice president for Student Affairs at the University of Miami, may be trading in his sandals for snow boots if selected as the University of Michigan’s new Dean of Students.
Walker, who has 26 years of experience working in higher education student affairs, visited campus yesterday as one of three finalist candidates for the dean of students. Students were invited to attend an informal lunch and forum with the candidate, followed by a public presentation by Walker on his philosophy as a university administrator.
In his 22 years at the University of Miami, Walker has held a wide range of responsibilities involving student affairs, including positions in Greek Affairs, Judicial Affairs, Intercollegiate Athletics and Alumni Relations.
Walker is also an active member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the U.S.’s largest social fraternity, having served in local, state and national levels within the fraternity, according to a biography released by the University of Michigan.
When asked why he chose to apply for the position of University of Michigan dean of students in his public presentation to students and faculty yesterday, Walker explained that he wanted to move on in his professional career, and that the University offered the challenge he desires.
“This is the one position that piqued my interest … partly because it is the University of Michigan,” he said.
Walker stressed the importance of a balance between the rights of students and the rights of the University and the city as a whole. He also said the University must continue to bear in mind students’ individual needs.
“You cannot have one formula that fits all students,” he told audience members. “There needs to be growth and development for the student throughout (the educational) process.”
Walker’s luncheon was the last of the three finalists for the position as dean of students. On Tuesday Karen Boyd, former senior associate for student life at the Georgia Institute of Technology visited the University. Laura Jones, interim dean of students and director of the office of student life at the University of Oregon, visited on Wednesday.
The three-day luncheon and forum series has been a final step in the search to replace former Dean of Students Sue Eklund, who retired from her position last year.