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Fox to be NWC’s next VP for student affairs

Montana native Sean Fox will move from the West Indies to become the vice president for student affairs at Northwest College.

Fox was selected through a nation-wide search that yielded 57 applicants for the position previously held by Dana Young. He begins the job April 18 at an annual salary of $100,000.

He is the right man for the job, NWC President Paul Prestwich said Monday.

“Sean brings such great experience to the position,” Prestwich said. “He’s had significant experience at a number of institutions, including his work at an institution similar to Northwest College, so he was the clear top choice to fill this position.”

Fox said he is excited about coming to Northwest College, which appeals to him on professional and a personal level.

“On the personal side of things, about a year or so ago, my wife Ann and I decided we wanted to come back to the United States to be closer to my family (in Montana) or her family (in Colorado),” he said.

“When I saw the college and the community, I thought this was a real potential for a fit. My wife and I got really excited about it.”

Fox said his wife, Ann, recently recalled, “Sean, the first thing you said to me was, ‘I feel like I’m at home.’

“And I did,” he said.

Professionally, Fox said he sees the college’s residence halls and the residential life that offers students as a boon for the college and its students.

“Residence halls can really have a positive effect on people,” he said. “I’ve been around the country, and a lot of places don’t have that ... That really impressed me that Northwest College and the state of Wyoming made that kind of investment.”

Having a college and its residential facilities here benefits students and the community as well, he said.

For nearly three decades, Fox has worked in a variety of positions in student affairs, progressing from resident hall director in 1982 to his current job as dean of student life at Ross University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts, West Indies.

“Sean brings a set of experiences that couldn’t be more tailor-made for Northwest,” Prestwich said. “On the one hand, he was born and raised in Great Falls and earned two of his college degrees in Montana, so he understands the culture and expectations of the West. But he can also draw on international experiences that dovetail perfectly into NWC’s focus on diversity and internationalism.”

“I can’t wait to get to Northwest,” Fox said via telephone from St. Kitts. “NWC’s biggest attraction for me is the residence halls. I’ve seen the impact a strong residential program has on a campus. It’s exciting to be a part of that.”

In his current position at Ross University, Fox oversees many of the same areas he will supervise at Northwest, including housing, registrar, counseling and nursing services, financial aid, student orientation and the student union.

Fox’s administrative experience that is closest to what he’ll encounter at Northwest came when he was vice president for student affairs from 1997-2004 at Seminole State College.

He also spent five years at Buena Vista University in Iowa, first as dean for residence life and later as dean of students.

Fox holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s in guidance and counseling from Montana State University. He earned a doctorate in college student personnel administration in 1992 from the University of Northern Colorado.

In addition to administrative duties, Fox has also taught part-time at Ross, Buena Vista, University of Northern Colorado and Emporia State University.

The Foxes will live in Powell with their two children, Joe, 11, and Julia, 10.

He said he appreciates both the college and the agricultural nature of the Powell area.

“I really cherish those agricultural values, partly because I grew up with them,” he said. “This feels so right to me.”

Prestwich originally chaired the search committee formed to fill the vice president for student services position, vacated in June when Dana Young left to become the president of Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Ore.

But, when one of the applicants for the position was an acquaintance and former co-worker of Prestwich’s, some in the campus community questioned his role on the committee, citing the potential for a conflict of interest.

“It’s not uncommon for search committee members to know a candidate, to have worked with that person,” Prestwich said. “I worked with (candidate) Scott Thompson ... and I had disclosed that to members of the search committee, and they were comfortable with the process.”

But, because of other people’s concerns, Prestwich said he appointed Bob Krenz, interim vice president for academic affairs, to serve as committee chairman.

“They discussed the finalists and had a chance to evaluate them, then made a recommendation to me ... In this case, their recommendation matched up with my feeling. He was my choice for the position as well.”

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