In response to the rapid growth and changing student population of the university, Auxiliary Services has gained its own new director along with a reorganization.
Julie North, former manager of transportation and parking under the Office of Business Affairs, now serves as the new director of Auxiliary Services. The appointment was made by Jay Kenton, vice president for Finance and Administration.
Brian Chase, who left in May for a job at Colorado State University, had been both director of facilities and director of Auxiliary Services.
“I felt with the agenda we have – trying to grow the campus, to keep up to speed with the campus’ growth and to keep up with the auxiliaries that go along with that growth – it was too much for one job,” Kenton said. He and his predecessor, George Pernsteiner, began discussing the problem before Pernsteiner left in midsummer.
“We used to have a director,” Kenton said. “The position was eliminated in about 1992 and it was consolidated with facilities at that time.” The two executives felt there was a great deal of need that was not being met, especially in student housing but also in food service, management of the Peter Stott Center, the management of Smith Memorial Student Union, parking, and other areas.
To solve the problems, they considered the qualifications of North. She came to Portland State University about four years ago from Oregon Health and Science University. She took over as head of transportation and parking here.
“She had totally turned that operation around from a very non-user-friendly operation to a very user-friendly operation, and we were impressed by that,” Kenton said. They decided she should be promoted to the new position.
The components of the new office are housing; parking; Smith Memorial Union; Stott Center; food service, including Aramark; vending; University Market; university event scheduling; Viking Bowl and Billiards; and other features in Smith Union.
“As our student body is growing, our needs are changing so much,” Kenton said. “The student body is becoming younger.” The university is recruiting more high school seniors, who are becoming traditional college-age freshmen.
“They have a different need,” he said. “They have a need for more housing and more of these Auxiliary Services than we have had in the past.” The university wants to serve these needs in the best way possible.
“We felt by promoting Julie and getting her into a consolidated auxiliaries, that we’d be in the best position to do that,” Kenton said.
Last summer, Cathy Dyk moved into Kenton’s former job as associate vice president for finance and planning when Kenton became vice president.
“Cathy has a great deal of interest in customer service and auxiliary functions, so she asked me if she could take on the responsibility for that,” Kenton explained. “I said that was great from my point of view. I have more than enough to do.”
Kenton said Dyk and North are proving to be an excellent team who work together very well.
As this process develops, Kenton said, the administration will look into various ideas for improvement in Auxiliary Services.
One could be whether contracting out student housing is the best or whether it should be brought in-house. Also, what other services the university can offer to make PSU more user-friendly and more holistic in serving student needs.
“One of our goals is to grow our housing, which currently is 900 units, to probably 2,000 or 3,000 units in the next five to 10 years,” Kenton said.
He believes there is a great deal of pent-up demand for housing now and the university may be losing a lot of students because of a lack of it.
One of the university’s strategies is to recruit more and more international and nonresident students. They will need housing to make this work for them.
Alan Brown had been assistant director of Auxiliary Services. He left the university early this month for another unnamed job.
Auxiliary Services had been located on the second floor of Smith Memorial Center. It now functions in Room 116 of the new complex of offices on the first floor of what is now designated Smith Memorial Student Union.
In her new location, North’s phone number is 503-725-9790.