After the abrupt departure of Jenn Mitchell from the college, more than 62 faculty, staff and students interviewed the potential candidates for the vacant position of director of student activities, and finally selected Kate Polivka to fill the position.
“Kate is a nice fit for Virginia Wesleyan College,” said Director of Community Service Diane Hotaling. “She is student-focused, with an emphasis on leadership development. She has the education and training to do the job well. Her experiences in Student Activities are similar enough to how we do things that she’ll fit right in, but different enough to grow the office in new and exciting ways.”
After Mitchell separated from the college, the school set out on a national search that led to a total of 98 applicants. Ten individuals from this pool of applicants were selected for phone interviews, and from there, four people were invited to campus for interviews. Polivka was one of those candidates.
“Kate was my favorite of the four candidates that came to campus,” said junior Heather Killian. “I think she is very qualified for the position. She seems to relate well with the students; she was also very professional when interacting with us throughout our meeting with her. She was very personable and fun.”
Polivka comes to VWC from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. A native of southeastern Virginia, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Geology and her Master of Science in Higher Education from Old Dominion University.
“What really stood out to me the most was the depth of her ownership and understanding of the role of a Student Affairs professional,” said Hotaling.
Polivka has been involved in the field of higher education for 10 years in the areas of orientation, career counseling and residence life, at Old Dominion University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Christopher Newport University.
“Polivka was the overwhelming choice of the committee and she has outstanding qualifications,” said Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Enrollment Services David Buckingham. “Equally as important is Kate’s personality. She has excellent communication skills and a very positive disposition which were quite apparent to all of us who met and spoke to her approximately one week ago.”
At Trinity University, Polivka was the assistant director of campus and community involvement. In that position, she coordinated orientation and leadership development.
“Another thing that stood out was that it seemed like she would give students the freedom to do the events that they want to do, which is good because it is the STUDENT activities office, and the Wesleyan activities council is a board of students,” said Killian.
Polivka will begin her new responsibilities on June 1, 2014.