By Dominic LoVallo
Two St. Bonaventure faculty members took on new roles this summer, after the departure of former vice president for Student Affairs, Rick Trietley.
Nichole Gonzalez is now the interim vice president for Student Affairs, and Rob DeFazio is now the interim executive director for Residential Living and Conduct – Gonzalez’s former position. DeFazio also retains oversight of the Center for Activities, Recreation and Leadership.
Gonzalez said the transition got off to a slow start, but she had all summer to prepare and help DeFazio make it as smooth as possible.
DeFazio now oversees everything under residential education including housing, residential assistants and judicial hearings. At the same time, he still oversees clubs and activities on campus, although newcomer Robbie Chulick has taken on some of the work.
DeFazio said he already found himself bouncing between his jobs in the Richter Center and the Reilly Center, but to him it’s all worth it.
“New challenges bring new opportunities,” said DeFazio. “I’ve learned a lot. There’s a lot I still need to learn, but it’s in the best interest of the students and the university at this time.”
He also credited his staff for helping him balance out the work.
It’s beneficial for DeFazio that Gonzalez’s new office is a short walk down the hall from his. Gonzalez said they talk, “daily – multiple times a day.”
“So, I’m there to support, and you know it’s also communication about how things have gone,” said Gonzalez. “But for me, I’m fine with however things go. The reason Rob was asked to do this is, he’s a great leader. Not only could he come into the position and handle doing both, he could also make changes that are necessary.”
Gonzalez is now the executive officer overseeing the entire Student Affairs division, which includes Safety and Security, The Damietta Center, The Center for Student Wellness, etc.
She is aware her new role will come with new experiences, and she said she has already learned so much.
“Obviously, a new relationship with other directors. These are directors I’ve worked with for many, many, many years – and now it’s just a different working relationship. I think the fact that we have worked together for so many years has been helpful. In these two months, I’ve learned so much more about the people I was working with.”
She also is excited about working closely with the other vice presidents and Dennis DePerro, Ed.D., president of St. Bonaventure University.
A national search to replace Trietley will be launched by January and Gonzalez plans to apply. She said if she doesn’t receive the full-time role, she would be happy to move back to her position in residential life – if DeFazio is willing.
DeFazio said he is not even thinking that far in advance.
“Get through the day and plan for tomorrow,” said DeFazio. “I don’t know what the future holds.”
Both plan on keeping their doors open to present students with the opportunity to talk or voice concerns. Both stressed their positions are meant to help students.