Search for CORE Director

The Department of Student Life & Leadership of UC Irvine held five-panel interview lunch sessions with each of their candidates as a part of their search for the new director of campus organizations on Oct. 8 through 9 and Oct. 14 through 16.

From 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., on each of those days, students from different organizations and departments on campus were invited to interview and have lunch with the candidate of the day. The open interview lunch was a portion of the four-hour interview process that the candidates underwent.

“Within Student Life and Leadership, where we know the work that we do is student life, part of what I and the search committee wanted was to be sure that students had a voice and students had a say in the hiring process,” Sherwynn Umali, the last director of Campus Organizations and current associate dean of students, said.

On average, approximately ten students attended each panel session. The students notified about these forums were from a wide variety of clubs on campus; there were, to name a few, representatives from Whovians at UCI, 100 Black College Women, the American Red Cross club, Campus Organizations Resources & Education (CORE) and the Administrative Intern Program that participated in the panel interviews. Department staff with Student Affairs and Academic Affairs was also invited to the campus presentation portion of the interview.

“I think that the CORE director position is incredibly important because unlike a lot of the student life and leadership areas, they really interact with the wide majority of the student base. It’s not a position of administration in which you interact primarily with other professional staff. You need to be able to interact with students,” Kevin Tanaka, the administrative intern coordinator from Student Life & Leadership, said.

He is supportive of this style of interview, especially for this position. “I would like to see a more expanded marketing campaign or advertisement of these open interviews, because I know that these interviews are marketed towards student leaders and people who are very involved on campus, but I think that especially with CORE, it’s a position in which you interact with people who may not be as involved on campus and are looking to be involved. So I think it’s important to have a wide group of students and not just student leaders, but people who want to become student leaders too.”

The sessions began with student and candidate introductions, followed by a panel interview conducted by attending students. Though Umali welcomed attendees of the session and introduced how the session would be run, she mainly observed the interview, sitting behind the students and across from the candidate.

“I am personally looking for someone who sees as much promise and collaborative power in student leaders and their organizations as he or she does in his/herself as director. I believe student leaders should see this director, as well as the CORE office staff, as strong and inspiring points of reference,” Kelly Kimball, sophomore said. During her time at UCI, she has been involved with Associated Students of UCI as a legislative council member, CORE as a volunteer, Campus Assault Resources & Education (CARE) through Student Life and Leadership’s Administrative Intern Program as the marketing and publicity intern, UC Irvine Admissions as a student social media ambassador and Uncultivated Rabbits as the club’s new president.

“Having students participate in sessions like the campus orgs director interviews is a small but important step in empowering students and resonating the student voice.”

Out of about 80 applicants, 10 of the applicants were selected for phone interviews by the hiring committee.
From there, they narrowed down the candidates to a pool of five. Each had an on-campus interview from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“Honestly, I was able to sit in on four out of the five interviews and I had no fundamental issues with any of the candidates. I think that some were a little better than other candidates, but I had no reservations or disappointments in any of the candidates, really,” Tanaka said.

The application for this position became available online in August and closed at the end of that month. Phone interviews began the week before Welcome Week, and the on-campus interviews were held over Week 2 and Week 3. They aim to have the new director of campus organizations in office by November, because Umali will be less available to supervise the new director starting January.

“I would’ve liked people from each area that this person might work with to have been present, but that’s impossible because everyone’s so busy. We invited hundreds of people but only a handful came. We invited thousands of students but only a handful came. But still, being able to glean from comments of people who did come, I’m totally happy that people came,” Umali said. “One thing I can guarantee is that whoever gets the job, gets the position, will have the skills necessary to do good work. They all care about and love students. I can see it in the interviews, too. Every time, when they’re in there with students, they shine. You can tell that these five people are in it for the students.”