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Offices stay busy over winter break

Melissa Flanagan | Thursday, December 9, 2010

Even though students will leave Notre Dame next week for winter break, the Office of Financial Aid will “seem just as busy,” student service representative Lynn Pershing said.

Most offices around campus, including the Office of Financial Aid, will remain open until Dec. 23 and reopen again Jan 3 after a short break.

“It’s just our normal business,” Pershing said. “We still get calls, grad students are still here.”

Samuel Gaglio, assistant dean of the Mendoza College of Business, said faculty from Mendoza use the break as a time to catch up on things, as well as plan ahead for the future.

“It’s a great time to take care of the paperwork and preplanning that makes it possible to spend time advising [students] while [they are] on campus,” Gaglio said.

Until Dec 23., Gaglio and the rest of the college will focus on taking care of end of the semester issues, such as grades and registering for the spring semester.

“We are still assisting students who ask about scheduling problems. We do graduation checks,” Gaglio said. “There are numerous issues students may have.”

When the faculty comes back to campus in 2011, they will look ahead to the spring semester.

One focus of Mendoza is to make sure that every student is on track for graduation. Gaglio said while seniors are the top priority, they also check to see that juniors and sophomores are taking the classes they need to be taking.

“This is when we can go in-depth with the 1,800 students we have,” Gaglio said.

In the Office of the Dean in the College of Arts and Letters, the faculty is looking even further ahead. Mo Marnocha, a personnel and operations specialist in the office, said one event they begin planning over break is the diploma ceremony in May.

“We’re gearing up for the spring semester, as well as looking at the end of the spring semester,” Marnocha said.

The Office of the Dean will also concentrate on finishing faculty appointments for the spring, as well as considering promotion and tenure packets.

Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) is one department that will not have a break for the holidays. Dave Chapman, assistant director of NDSP, said his staff will remain at Notre Dame for the duration of the break.

“We’re here 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Chapman said.

NDSP will do most of its normal duties, Chapman said, such as walking through the buildings on campus and patrolling the parking lots. One additional job they have over break is to make sure students’ doors remain locked.

“We continually check the dorms and make sure all the doors are locked on a daily basis,” Chapman said. “This is an open campus, so even though students are gone, the public still comes on campus.”

Ava Preacher, an assistant dean for the College of Arts and Letters, said her office doesn’t make appointments from the last class day until the first day back, but they still handle many student concerns.

“We handle emergencies, exam problems, registration problems,” Preacher said. “We also deal with transfer and readmitted students and preparing for them.”

Although Marnocha agreed break is a great time to fix problems and catch up on the past semester, she said the Office of the Dean in the College of Arts and Letters will mainly use the break to plan ahead for the future.

“We’re always working ahead,” Marnocha said. “We’re cleaning up some tail end stuff, but we’re always looking forward.”