With a fresh layer of snow, a new fitness facility and the upcoming debut of a J-Term, Drake University is abuzz with new developments. Amid the anticipation of a new year, the university welcomed four new faces to the Drake faculty.
For many students, the Drake University Counseling Center is a destination off the beaten path. For Mark Kloberdanz, director of the counseling center, the brick building at 2116 Carpenter Ave., represents new opportunities to assure students that a listening ear is always available.
Kloberdanz began his post as director on Nov. 1, 2011. From academic issues to emotional issues, the counseling center offers a safe, confidential environment designed to support students.
“This is very private, and it’s very secure,” Kloberdanz said. “Whatever reason they (the students) would come for, an academic concern, emotional concern, whatever’s going on in their lives, they would feel more welcomed here as well as utilize us more.”
The Drake Counseling Center plans to play a role in student life this year.
“We want to be more present in terms of getting out from our building,” Kloberdanz said. “More a part of things that are going on, the different activities and being on more committees and just being more involved in the university.”
Kloberdanz added that he hopes to increase visibility for students seeking support.
“I want to make the Drake Counseling Center more visible,” Kloberdanz said. “I want it to be where students see this not only as something that they have the option to use, but to feel that there’s no stigma in doing that. I feel, and my staff feels, we’re a real asset to this college but sometimes underused.”
Following just three months as a faculty member, Kloberdanz said that Drake’s campus is a comfortable, friendly place.
“I have had a marvelous first couple months here in terms of being welcomed by both faculty and students,” he said.
From skyrocketing textbook costs to homework qualms, new students face a sometimes overwhelming transition to college life. Fortunately, William Hatchet, the new student academic facilitator, welcomes concerned students with an open door and helpful advice.
Hatchet, who joined the Drake faculty in October 2011, works with first-year and transfer students to promote a positive academic transition. After completing his master’s degree in public administration at Drake, Hatchet said that he wanted to build connections with college students.
“I chose Drake for a reason,” he said. “I believe in it as a great academic institution and also just a comfortable place for myself — very community oriented, very comfortable but also committed to academic excellence.”
With those qualities in mind, Hatchet said he hopes to reach out in the Drake community beyond one-on-one communication with new students.
“I’m looking forward to building more connections with students,” Hatchet said. “I’ve started to have some one-on-one conversations with the students and different things with students that I assist, so continuing to do some of those things on a larger scale, being a part of programs where I can be in contact with a lot of students.”
Ultimately, Hatchet said he wants to assure new students that he is dedicated to their academic achievements.
“One thing I really enjoy most about my role is having the opportunity to help students that are in overwhelming situations,” he said. “Providing that relief for students has been the best (part).”
Brittan Etzenhouser, director of fraternity and sorority life, knows the ins and outs of Drake’s Greek system. Between managing Drake’s 18 Greek organizations as well as the Interfraternity Council, the National Panhellenic Council and the Panhellenic Council, Etzenhouser’s busy schedule represents a mosaic of tasks, goals and ideas.
After just three whirlwind weeks as a new faculty member, Etzenhouser is already looking to promote positive and personal change for students in Drake’s Greek system.
“I am looking forward to growth and positive change within the fraternity and sorority community,” Etzenhouser said. “Being a member of a Drake fraternity or sorority is a great way to become immersed in the campus community. Members of our community are dedicated to scholarship, leadership, service and friendship, which are the pillars of fraternity and sorority life at Drake.”
Keeping those pillars in mind, Etzenhouser said that the Drake Greek system is a comfortable, influential place for students.
“We offer students a home away from home where they can be challenged to be a better man or woman,” she said.
Etzenhouser also said that she already feels at home in Drake’s close community.
“To me, Drake feels like a tight-knit family,” she said. “I enjoy the fact that Drake is so student-centered. Students are involved in many of the important decision-making processes and their insight is always of importance to administrators.”
Drake has also named a new provost. Amid a field of nearly 70 candidates, the university selected Deneese Jones to take the helm of Drake’s academic affairs when she begins her tenure on June 1.