There for Students: Haverford’s New Graduate Assistants
The two GAs, Michael Elias, who is pursuing an M.S. in higher education administration at Drexel University, and Latoya Johnson, who is enrolled in Temple University’s graduate program in urban education, live at the Haverford College Apartments, take their meals at the DC and work 20 hours per week, alternating weekends and weeknights on call.
According to Dean of the College Martha Denney, the GA idea grew out of a series of meetings with counterparts at Bryn Mawr about ways health and psychological services might collaborate. What those points of connection might be are still being determined, says Denney, "But what we did realize in those conversation was that we both could use more resources for students needing help at night and on weekends. So we decided that we would each hire two graduate assistants. There will be some Bi-co collaboration and eventually they will share on-call duties across the campuses.”
The GAs can offer crucial assistance, says Denney, when a student is sick, struggling with a psychological issue, or has had too much to drink. “We have deans and nurses on call, and we have Safety and Security, but the GAs are an additional presence. They can get out of bed in the middle of the night and help access a situation, or just show up in someone’s room and say, “How are you doing?” That will be a good thing for our students.” Also being looked at are ways to utilize the GAs as liaisons to campus clubs and other student activities.
“The Graduate Assistant position adds another layer of support for both the students and the administration,” says Johnson, who, with Elias, attended Customs Week as part of her training for the GA job. “I want the students to be able to approach the GAs when projects or issues arise,” says Elias, “and it’s already starting to happen.”