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The NewSLU

The NewSLU

SLU Madrid Searches for Leader to Fill Top Post

Three interim directors have split the duties of the former dean until a permanent replacement is found
Ariana Castillo Cedeño
L-R: Interim Co-Directors Laurie Mazzuca, Francisco García Serrano and Victoria Villareal during a meeting at Manresa Hall, which opened this semester.

The Madrid Campus is now under the leadership of three people this school year: Dr. Laurie Mazzuca, Dr. Francisco “Paco” García-Serrano, and Victoria “Viki” Villarreal are in charge of the university’s administration until someone is appointed to permanently take on the top post held by Dr. Paul Vita, who left last spring after more than a decade at the helm for a Vice-Chancellor position in Nigeria.

Prior to their appointment, Mazzuca served as the program director for the psychology department while García-Serrano was the associate dean of the humanities and social sciences.

Mazzuca and Garcia-Serrano are serving as the interim co-directors for academics. The titles are the same, but the focus is different: Mazzuca handles admissions and student-life issues while Garcia-Serrano oversees program directors and associate deans.

Villarreal is serving as the interim co-director for administration, which means she handles finance and operations.

The division of power is new for both faculty and students.

“On a long term basis, any moment in transition is a moment of reflection and growth,” said Mazzuca. “Ideally this change in leadership will lead to more growth in the university and will hopefully benefit students.”

Earlier this October, the provost came to visit the SLU Madrid campus to further discuss the search for the new dean of the university and a possible transformation of the role to respond to the growing university’s needs.

With SLU Madrid seeing yearly increases in its student body, the structure of higher administration has the potential to change as well. García-Serrano explained how the title of “dean” could be something of the past. Interim leaders and the provost are exploring titles such as “rector” or “vice-provost.” A final decision has not been made, he said.

The next leader is expected to be announced to the student body by the end of Spring 2024, but this has yet to be confirmed.

Emma Scott, club coordinator for the Student Government Association, has participated in recent meetings with the provost to discuss the search for the new dean.

“There will be a student selected for the committee searching for the next dean,” Scott said. This student will be appointed by the SGA, faculty, and finally the provost.

The former dean, Dr. Paul Vita,  joined the university’s faculty in 1999. He was appointed dean in 2008 and added the role of director to his job description in 2012. He departed the school in pursuit of a post as Vice-Chancellor and President at James Hope University in Lagos, Nigeria.

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About the Contributors
Abby Langton
Abby Langton, Editor-in-Chief
Abby Langton, a senior and communication major, is the Editor-in-Chief of The NewSLU. She has covered hard news, features and sports.
Ariana Castillo Cedeño
Ariana Castillo Cedeño, Staff Photographer
Ariana Castillo Cedeño is a political science major who is intrigued by the storytelling power of photography.

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