Lawrence has created a new position of Second-Year Dean and appointed Juan Arguello as the inaugural officeholder, according to an email from Vice President for Student Life Chris Clarke, sent out on Friday, May 5. Arguello’s office is located in Room 102 of Memorial Hall. This follows the hiring of Kristi Koshuta as Dean of the First-Years in Fall Term.
The Second-Year Dean is responsible for helping sophomore and transfer students transition from either their first to second year or from a previous institution to Lawrence. Arguello will also be running programs at Summer Institute. He added that juniors and seniors should come talk to him too, and that he wants to learn about what the second-year experience has been like in the past. He sees his role as advocacy as well as advice.
Arguello is a first-generation college student who graduated from DePaul University with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and from Harvard Law School with a Juris Doctor degree. He served in the U.S. Army and Illinois National Guard, and he worked as an attorney in Chicago before coming to Lawrence. As a first-generation college student who also identifies as Mexican-American, he remembers the difficulties of not knowing what to do or who to turn to in college.
“If anyone’s ever thinking ‘should I go talk to the Second-Year Dean about this or not?’, just come say hi,” Arguello said. “We can talk through whatever it is; they aren’t wasting my time.”
Arguello sees his role as advising students when he can help them, and advocating for them to the administration when he can’t. He sees a big part of his job as bringing student concerns to the administration and believes that the administration expects him to do so.
“I am in a position to bring these things to university leadership […] and be involved in facilitating those discussions,” Arguello said.
To be successful, Arguello hopes to build relationships with students from all class years. If he can’t build these relationships, he doesn’t feel that he can properly do his job because he wouldn’t be hearing what students need and wouldn’t be able to advise and advocate for them. He also wants to meet students even when they aren’t having concerns and encourages students to stop by and introduce themselves.
“My job is to address the concerns and the challenges of students,” Arguello said. “I want students to know that I have an open-door policy and feel free to stop in and just say hi. I don’t want them to think they can only come in when they have a concern, a question or a problem.”
Arguello also hopes to foster a better sense of community between second-years and transfer students and work on student retention.