Dodge ball with the new dean, Andrew Wu
September 14, 2013 Leave a comment
What does an eighteen-second YouTube video reveal about Goucher’s new Assistant Dean for Student Development, Andrew Wu? Quite a bit, in fact.
In this brief clip (Click Here), viewers watch Wu getting repeatedly pelted in the face with dodgeballs. After each blow he smiles, desperately trying
to hold back a laugh, proving the 29 year-old doesn’t take himself too seriously. “The motivation behind my hire was to create as good a relationship between the students and administration as possible,” he clarifies with a grin, “If students want to hit me in the face with some dodge balls, I can do that.”
Unfortunately, dodgeball is not a part of Wu’s official job description. As Goucher’s new Assistant Dean for Student Development, Wu has the dubious task of overseeing student conduct, including judicial affairs and students of concern. “Typically if you come into my office, it’s not a good thing,” Wu explains. The Maryland native, however, hopes this will not always be the case for Goucher students. “I don’t only want to do things that are negative,” Wu says, “I want people to be able to come into my office in a positive way….I don’t want to just be the ‘Judicial Guy.’”
Wu grew up not too far from Goucher’s campus in Westminster, Maryland. He received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from McDaniel College, where his father also taught philosophy. “I think that is why I am in higher education now,” Wu confesses, reflecting upon his upbringing, “I grew up on a campus; I’m comfortable on a campus. It is just kind of what I know.”
Wu later obtained a position at Bennington College in Vermont. “Part of my role at Bennington was to kind of ‘do-everything,’” Wu describes of his previous work, “It is a very small school, we had a very small Department of Student Life, so the roles weren’t so narrow.” Using this opportunity to sample various jobs within a college’s administration, Wu eventually discovered a passion. “I really enjoyed judicial affairs and working with students who were struggling a little bit,” he explains.
“Ready to come home” and eager to take the next step in his career, Wu applied for the opening in Goucher’s Student Life Division. “Goucher is just kind of this school that I feel really pulls all of my experiences together,” Wu describes of his new position, adding with a smile, “This job is exactly what I want, in exactly the place I want to be.”
Although his office is still quite bare, Wu seems to be transitioning well into Goucher’s community. “I want students to feel comfortable with me, basically,” he explains, insisting on being called by his first name, instead of “Mr.” or “Dean Wu.” “For what I want to do here, the presence I want to have, ‘Andrew’ is more conducive to that,” he says, “plus I don’t want to feel too old.”
Wu ultimately stresses that his door is always open to Goucher students. “Use me as a resource,” he urges, “I want to be able to have casual conversations with students…as long as they are not in my office for something crazy.” So perhaps, for now, leave the dodgeballs at home.