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Search for the dean of students: Riordan hopes to expand student involvement

Dr. Phillip Riordan is no stranger to academic service and excellence.

With a career in academics spanning over twenty five years, Riordan, a candidate for the associate provost and dean of students position, has worked with over four distinct higher educational institutions, where he pushed to advance the goals of each university and shape innovative student policies.

Now, he has his eyes set on Belmont University.

During Riordan’s student Q&A session on Monday, students were given a chance to engage Riordan in asking questions ranging from his policies, student life and how he would help form solidarity between student organizations.

Riordan began his session by explaining his decision making and meeting process in regards to students at Lynn University, which is Riordan’s current university of employment.

When asked about his involvement with student life and discerning over campus policies, Riordan revealed a system he authored with student government while at Lynn University dubbed the “Knights of the Round Table.”

“The Knights of the Round Table essentially makes each associate at the meeting an equal. Every member is assigned a specific department or category of student life to observe and report,” said Riordan. “A specific associate is chosen to lead the discussion for each meeting and it rotates as the semester progresses. The associates deal with everything from international students to Greek Life. That way, nothing is missed and every major aspect of student life is treated equally.”

Riordan also made points on the importance of supporting underclassmen as they transition into the college experience

“I want students to focus on individuals building friendships, it starts through extracurricular activities,” he said. “Over the years at Lynn University, upperclassmen helped comprise a list of 50 things students should do on campus. It is given to incoming freshman to make a transition to Lynn University and get accommodated on all the activities a university has to offer.”

After being prompted about what he would do to keep upperclassmen more involved with campus life, Riordan shed light on a another recent program he helped develop at Lynn.  The new  mentor-ship program is dedicated to pairing incoming or transfer students with upperclassmen to help them find extracurricular activities, fun events on campus and become adjusted to the college experience.

Riordan is not sure if this would be a program he would try to replicate if hired since he would first have to find those who were appropriate candidates for mentors before making that decision.

Finally, Riordan addressed a question about bridging the gap between organizations such as Greek Life and black student organization.

He immediately noted the growing issue of the lack of diversity at Belmont, and sees this as an area that desperately needs to be fixed.

One of the main focuses he wants to bring to Belmont is spreading diversity throughout Belmont. In addition to this, Riordan wants to bring solidarity among student activity groups, so that “none seem like a distant stranger to others.”

The next candidate to visit campus is Dr. Jeffery Burgin. His student Q&A session will be this Friday at 10 a.m. in Beaman A&B.

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