New Dean of Students settling in well

The College is delighted to welcome George Connolly as the new Dean of Students at St Margaret's. He took up his appointment on 19 November.

The Dean of Students position is a new role at the College with the prime function of delivering to Members outstanding academic, pastoral and social support services as part of St Margaret's commitment to providing a comprehensive and outstanding collegiate experience for its Members.

Together with his partner, Monica, and cat, Rosie, George resides in the Apartment which is immediately adjacent to the College's Main Building. He says that despite only being here for a month, he and Monica are feeling very much at home. "All of the staff have been incredibly welcoming and the College is such a beautiful place. When I was considering the next move in my career, the student-centred philosophy of St Margaret’s and its reputation of excellence made the College an obvious choice.”

George has BSc and BSc (Honours) degrees, both majoring in Anatomy, from the University of Otago. As well as tutoring and demonstrating experience, he has a sound understanding of the collegiate system having been a Residential Assistant, Senior Residential Assistant and more recently part of the management team at Carrington College, a university-owned residential college. This background has provided him with an in-depth understanding of residential college life and the university education environment.

One of the new Dean's major responsibilities is to provide a wide range of academic support to Members, including the managing of a comprehensive tutorial and mentoring system, advising and supporting Members on academic matters, pro-actively following up any who may require additional academic support, and being available for Members seeking assistance with their studies.

Pastoral support and providing opportunities for Members' personal growth are further key responsibilities of the Dean. During semester times, George's work hours will begin at lunch-time and end at 9 pm so that a senior staff member is easily available in the early evenings when most students are generally "at home" and can easily seek him out for advice or a chat.

Liaising with and supporting the Executive Committee is also an important part of George's job as is organising various College functions and events such as Arrival Weekend, Fellows Dinners, Valedictory Dinners, the annual community project, etc.

Over the quieter summer period, George is taking the opportunity to familiarise himself with the College, staff, buildings, procedures, and plan for the year ahead. He has also assisted in the organisation of the recent Collegiate Leaders' Forum, a four-day professional development programme for those involved with residential colleges at the University of Otago.

George says that he is "incredibly excited to meet the College’s Members when they arrive in February next year and cannot wait to see what the academic year of 2019 will bring".

(Story by the Master, Dr Charles Tustin)

PS George's cat, Rosie, is settling in extremely well too and is the most friendly of cats! See the accompanying photos.

Posted: Friday December 21, 2018