Dean of students leaves after five years

The Dean of Student office has a vacancy. 

CCU’s Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students has stepped down from his role after arriving at Coastal in 2018.  

On March 24, it was announced to faculty that Peter Paquette is resigning from the university beginning June 30, 2022. Paquette stepped down as special advisor to Student Success, and the office will begin searching for a new dean. 

While the university is searching for a replacement, President Michael Benson tapped three administrators in the Dean of Students Office to divide the tasks of Paquette’s previous role. Those individuals are Associate Dean of Students Erin McDonald, Associate Dean of Students Sara Peacock, and Director of Off-Campus Student Services and Community Engagement Harry Titus. These administrators currently work in the areas of student conduct, student advocacy and intervention, and off-campus student services. 

Peacock has been at Coastal for nearly nine years. She said it is normal for people who work in higher education to move onto bigger and better things after a few years.  

“It’s pretty common in higher education, to seek new opportunities after a period of time,” Peacock said. “It’s very common after a few years for someone who is in a role like Dr. Paquette to move onto other institutions or take advantage of other opportunities.” 

Assistant Vice President for Student Wellness and Health Equity Elizabeth Carter, and Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement Susannah Marshman, will lead their areas and work alongside McDonald, Peacock and Titus. Peacock said she believes with everyone’s work experience and passion for what they do, it will help when they’re providing support to students. 

Benson said he did not select a single person as interim dean of students for this reason. He said collaboration and assistance from everyone is the best way to serve the student body. 

“I have decided not to appoint a single interim successor for the Dean of Students role,” said Benson in an email. “This action is being taken to specifically acknowledge the strong leadership consistently demonstrated by these individuals, and to continue providing outstanding services to our student body.” 

The next steps moving forward are to search for a new vice president of student affairs. Provost Daniel Ennis is creating this search committee, and whomever is selected will likely create the search for the new dean of students. The hope is to have a replacement step into the position this summer. 

Paquette said he is thankful for his time at Coastal and hopes the work he’s done surrounding inclusivity and the wellbeing of students continues to remain in high importance even after he’s gone.  

“As I wrap up my final months at CCU, I’m most proud of and grateful for all the great work my team has done to prioritize student wellbeing and inclusion over the past four years and the commitments we’ve made to ensure those remain a priority for years to come,” Paquette said. “In addition, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the amazing CCU student body.” 

The Chanticleer also reached out to James Solazzo, vice president for student success, and a student worker in the Dean of Students Office, and both individuals declined to comment.