PRESQUE ISLE – After more than a year without a dean of students, officials at the University of Maine at Presque Isle recently announced the appointment of a longtime employee to the position.
Jim Stepp, UMPI’s director of residence life for more than a decade, will step into the one-year interim appointment, which is subject to confirmation by the University of Maine System board of trustees.
“Jim has a tremendous amount of experience dealing with our students, and he is well known and respected on campus and at the system level for his work on student affairs issues,” President Don Zillman said in a press release. “I am pleased that he is willing to step up to the plate. I know he will serve our students well.”
Stepp will maintain his duties as residence life director along with the responsibilities of dean of students. As dean, he will oversee a student body of about 1,500 – both traditional and nontraditional students – from all over Maine, the Canadian Maritimes and New England. His new duties include supervising residence life, student activities, the campus day care center, student support services, the counseling center, career counseling and placement, and Upward Bound.
“As the primary student advocate, this position is critical to the success of any university,” Zillman said. “UMPI has been without this key advocate for over a year, and it has been a campuswide concern that we fill this role immediately.”
Zillman has been working with the campus community to address the university’s needs since he started work this fall as UMPI’s interim president. The dean of students’ duties were carried out by Dr. Kurt Hofmann until his retirement in 2005. The position was not filled during the 2005-2006 academic year.
University officials soon will conduct a full search to fill the dean of students position. Stepp is expected to be a candidate.
Stepp, who came to UMPI in 1995, has been involved with several campus committees, including the campus smoking policy committee, the sexual assault task force, University Senate representative for the professional staff assembly, and chairman of the UMS campus conduct code revision committee. Since his arrival, the residence halls have seen an increase of nearly eight-tenths in the average residential student’s grade point average, to about 3.09 last year.
Stepp received his bachelor’s degree in secondary education and his master’s degree in college administration from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania south of Erie, Pa. He recently completed the course work toward his doctorate in higher education at the University of Maine.
“I’m excited,” Stepp said of the appointment. “I’m just hoping I can do the best I can to serve the students I’m here to serve.”
The interim appointment is scheduled to end Sept. 30.