Key appointments in student development

Two experienced professionals have been appointed by to lead the new division of student development and its co-curricular and developmental learning initiatives at Central College. Peggy Fitch will be the vice president for student development and will continue as professor of psychology. Charlie Strey, currently associate dean of student life, will serve as dean of students. Both appointments are effective July 1, 2012.

Peggy Fitch

In the new position of vice president for student development, Fitch will serve as a member of the senior leadership team and oversee the full scope of student development opportunities important to providing a rich experience for students outside the classroom. Fitch also will work closely with Mary Strey, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, in designing and implementing a cutting-edge, integrated learning model. Together they will work on specific developmental learning outcomes for students that link the co-curriculum and student engagement experience to academic programs and academic advising.

“Peggy’s appointment reflects the broad range of her talent and experience,” said Mark Putnam, Central College president. “She’s someone who knows our students, models our mission and visualizes our future.”

Fitch has a Ph.D. in developmental and child psychology from the University of Kansas, a master’s in counseling and student personnel administration from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s in psychology from Stephens College in Columbia, Mo.

Her career includes a wealth of experience in both psychology and student development, including academic and career advising, peer tutoring and counseling. Early in her career she served as assistant to the dean and residence hall director at Colorado College, a career adviser at the University of Maryland and an academic adviser at both Maryland and Central. She was acting director of counseling in a program for adult learners at Stephens and has teaching experience at Maryland, Kansas, Drake University and Central — both in Pella and abroad in Central’s program in Merida, Yucatan. Currently the director of the college’s intersections program, she has been actively involved in this first-year student experience since its inception in 2003.

Along with consulting work, Fitch’s background includes publications, invited presentations and research focused on service-learning, college student development, intercultural development, peer teaching and instructional design. She has participated in over two dozen campus committees, councils and task forces at Central.

“This position is a unique and exciting opportunity to integrate my expertise in student development, teaching and learning — in and outside the classroom — in a compelling and empowering way,” said Fitch.

Charlie Strey

Strey steps into the dean of students role with more than 30 years of student affairs experience in higher education. As dean of students, Strey will provide leadership for the education services and offices in student development and management of the division’s operations. He will serve as an advocate for students.

Since arriving at Central in August, Strey has played a significant role in campus life programs and services. He supervises residence life, campus security and Greek affairs and is a collaborator on the Central integrated learning model. Strey is a member of the strategic planning steering committee, communications planning committee and the leadership conference. He coordinates emergency communication and planning, serves as a representative to the parents’ council and supports new student recruitment and retention initiatives on campus.

Prior to joining the Central team, Strey served as the assistant dean of students and director of residential life at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minn. He also was the director of residence life at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minn., and coordinator for residence hall administration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Additionally, he was complex director at Minnesota State University-Mankato, residence hall director at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and graduate resident director at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Strey has taken courses toward his doctorate of educational psychology from Nebraska and earned a master’s in guidance and counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and a bachelor’s in comparative studies in religion from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

His experience in the classroom includes the coordination and teaching of a course, “LeadStrong,” at Gustavus. He’s also been a guest lecturer for the freshman year experience on the Myers Briggs type indicator, educational psychology and faith development and an instructor of multiple leadership classes.

“I remain honored to have the privilege to work with the very talented professionals in student development and look forward to continuing our collective work within the integrated learning model,” said Strey. “I also appreciate the opportunity to continue serving Central College students in this new role.”

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