Associate Dean of Student Activities Paul Shrode is involved in almost every institutional aspect of Lawrence that goes on outside of the classroom. A recent day’s work included arranging for Waseda program T-shirts to be printed, meeting with the intramural staff, and reporting to the Princeton Review on Lawrence campus involvement in the community. Variety is one of the things Shrode enjoys most about his position at Lawrence.Although Shrode was always an extracurricular enthusiast, he majored in biology at Albion College and expected to continue in that field. However, when he looked back at what he enjoyed most about college he saw that it was the “creation of community” that he experienced through campus involvement. As a student at Albion he was chair of several campus programming committees and served as an admissions tour guide. He was also involved in choir and at the campus radio station, worked as a lab assistant, and even helped start a band on campus. After his undergraduate work Shrode discovered the field of student affairs. He went on to earn his master’s in College Student Personnel at Bowling Green State University, where he worked as a graduate assistant in residence life programming. He is currently finishing his dissertation in Educational Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Shrode describes his work as a mixture of program planning, policy development, and student organization relations and growth. His days are filled with a range of organizational meetings, administrative duties for the Union, and what Shrode calls “walk-in traffic” – whatever issues are communicated to him through his office.
Shrode is motivated by his enjoyment of student interaction as well as his commitment to community. He feels that although his work is outside the classroom, he is constantly helping students learn and being challenged by the questions they ask. Lawrence students in particular, he says, want not just answers to their questions but the reasons behind the answers. Shrode says that kind of inquiry keeps him “fresh and focused.”
Shrode’s conception of community is far-reaching. He is concerned not only with the campus itself, but with the Appleton area. As the father of an 8-year-old son, Shrode likes to see Lawrence include families in campus activities. He is active in volunteer service and finds that through his involvement he can create connections for Lawrence. His commitments in the Appleton community include serving on the board of directors for Oktoberfest and assisting the Appleton Gallery of Art’s summer fair on the Lawrence campus. Shrode emphasizes the importance of the “bridge between Lawrence and the Appleton community.”
Shrode sees the opportunities offered by a place like Lawrence as integral not only to the campus as a whole, but to the individual as well. The liberal arts education offers much material for students within and outside of their chosen major, and Shrode sees the experience outside of the classroom as an “opportunity to put into play some of the things you learn and test out ideas.” He says that by “reflecting upon your experiences and integrating them… you can begin to see what interests you, what intrigues you, where your strengths are, and let those things take you on your path.” Paul Shrode hopes that, for students at Lawrence, that path includes taking an active role in building community during and after their years here.
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