SELC Hires New Staff for 2017- 2018 to Increase Student Involvement

The upcoming school year marks a new era for the Student Engagement and Leadership Center (SELC). Assistant Director of Student Union Activities, Erica Whitiker added three new student employees and a graduate assistant to the team.  

Whitiker said, “I feel like my needs are being supported by my supervisor [Dr. Jane Klug, Dean of Student] through the addition and funding of staff members.” 

The student employees joining the SELC are sophomore Morghan Oleson as the Student Engagement Information Specialist, junior Bailey Beougher as the SELC Marketing Intern, and junior Justin Logue as the Student Engagement Intern. The team will be completed with a graduate assistant to be hired in late April.  

Beougher said, “I’m looking forward to working for SELC next year because it’s a wonderful opportunity, and I’m excited to bring in new ideas.” 

The Student Engagement and Leadership department has added four positions to the department in the past five years. Whitiker started as the sole professional employee of the department housed in the SELC. The SELC provides a space for students to be involved with student groups, gain leadership skills, and create programs. 

The SELC added the employee position of the Student Engagement Information Specialist in 2013. This position responsibility includes daily distribution of advertisements, SELC workroom upkeep, and student engagement reports tracking.  

The summer of 2015 marked a turning point for the SELC. The Student Engagement Intern and Graduate Assistant of Student Engagement. The internship takes place in the summer. This person focuses on planning new student registration, community campus fair, and contracted entertainment. She or he provides orientation assistance and prepares the SELC for the student return in the fall. The graduate assistant responsibilities include co-advising Jacket Pack and organizing Student Union activities and special projects. He or she develops relationships with external agencies and university departments, assists in staff trainings, and implements enrichment programs.  

The final addition added in 2016 was the Student Engagement Marketing Intern. The position responsibilities include creating student organization programs, leadership event promotions, social media content, and SELC marketing strategies development. 

Whitiker came to Black Hills State University in 2012 with Bachelor in Science in Psychology with minors in Woman and African American Studies and a Masters in Organizational Leadership with emphases in Business and Higher Education. She is working towards her doctorial degree in Education Administration with an emphasis in Adult and Higher Education Learning.   

The Assistant Director of Student Union Activities oversees all student organization involvement, advises Campus Activities Board, SWARM, and co-advises Jacket Pack, directs the campus advertisement distribution system, coordinates the Student Volunteer Awards Ceremony, oversees orientation and Green and Gold Days, and manages five budgets. The position also facilitates, creates, and implements leadership activities.  Whitiker also sits on University Multicultural, Health and Wellness, and Strategic Planning committees, as well as the Freshman Seminar Summit. Lastly, she sat on the Phase One of the Higher Education Commission Accreditation for Black Hills State University.  

The increase of staff allowed Whitiker to focus on increasing leadership development. Leadership participation increased 137 percent in 2016 through the Leadership Series and Leadership Retreat. Students involved in clubs and organization increased 21 percent and active student groups by 59 percent.   

Dr. Lois Flagstad, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs stated, “Erica challenges and supports BHSU students to think outside themselves as they program for and serve others. Reaching 20,000 participants through the programs and activities that she directly oversees is phenomenal!” 

The growth of student engagement is directly correlated to the increase in staff. Whitiker constantly felt overwhelmed trying to juggle her current job description and added responsibilities of new positions. Students saw the potential to grow student engagement.  

The additional positions came to fruition because of student pressure from the 2014 General Activity Fee Committee. BHSU alumni Chase Vogel, Lorrin (Anderson) Naasz, and Cody Drolc spearheaded the initiative to add employees by funding and reorganizing the Graduate Assistant and Information Specialist positions. The Student Union and Orientation Committee added their backing to restructuring the Student Engagement and Leadership department by funding the internships.  

BHSU Campus Visit and Communications Coordinator Naasz stated, “I feel adding a GA has made a big impact on campus. All the programs, student engagement & leadership programs on campus bring so much to the university.” 

 The SELC will start the upcoming school year with a completely new team. The individuals currently in these positions are graduating.  

Whitiker said, “I’m excited because no one is invested in what we [SELC] have been going.” The graduate assistant will be chosen from pool of applications from outside BHSU. One of the new employees have never even stepped into the SELC until her interview. The new employees will bring an outside perspective needed to continue to grow the department.