Tara Hawthorne hit the ground running this semester with her new position as coordinator of new student programs.
Hawthorne was appointed to the position over Winter Break, after the previous coordinator, Amanda Carter, vacated the position after making the decision to move to Evansville, Ind.
Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs, said his office held interviews to find someone to fill the position. He said he was impressed with Hawthorne.
“Turns out, Tara Hawthorne was the best candidate for this,” Robertson said.
Since September 2009, Hawthorne served as the coordinator of Greek Life and Student Organizations.
“I was in grad school in Louisiana and working full time and I was looking to get back into Greek life,” Hawthorne said. “That was my initial reason for coming here was I saw a posting for the position.”
She said she is looking forward to the new task of working with incoming students.
“I’m very excited,” Hawthorne said. “Things are going well. We have our admitted student open house coming up and looking forward to families of new students coming to visit them and learn more about Murray State.”
Hawthorne’s new responsibilities include organizing special events such as Racer Days, open house style visits where students have the opportunity to meet faculty and staff; Racer 101, a leadership summer camp designed for incoming freshmen; Summer Orientation, designed to prepare new students for college life and dessert receptions attended by admissions counselors to recruit new students.
“This will be more of a focus on incoming students and working with them on that transition from high school to college,” Hawthorne said, regarding her new position. “Making sure they are familiar with the campus and they are ready to start campus life and everything that goes along with it.”
She said her primary goal is to improve training Summer Orientation counselors and making sure they are able to connect with incoming students.
“They have a key part in working with the students when they come to Summer Orientation,” she said. “Their job is just as important as anyone else. They are helping them learn about Murray State and college life.”
Hawthorne said after students arrive on campus, the job is not done; counselors must continue to work with students and make sure they are adjusting well to the college environment.
She said she is optimistic for new developments of programs for incoming students to help maintain retention.
“I would love to look at Summer Orientation and look at how it was done in the past and see how we can spice it up,” Hawthorne said. “We are looking at Racer 101 and Abroad 101 programs and offering more opportunities to get involved in Murray State and what we have to offer before they get to campus. Then also creating some actual new student programs in the fall.”
The position for coordinator of Greek Life is temporarily being filled by Re’Nita Avery-Meriwether, director of Student Life.
Applications for the position are being accepted until Feb. 13, through the Office of Student Affairs