The College has selected James Norfleet as its new vice president of Student Life. Norfleet, the current associate vice president for Student Services at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, will start Aug. 1 at the College.
Norfleet beat out two other finalists, James Rollo, associate vice president for Student Affairs at the University of Florida, and Tom Jackson, vice president for Student Affairs at Texas A&M University-Kingsville for the spot.
Norfleet replaces interim vice president of Student Life Elizabeth Paul, who will return to the psychology department, where she was recently promoted to full professor.
Norfleet said that the College’s students, staff, faculty, programs, facilities and campus all contributed to his desire to work at the College. As an added bonus, the College is just over an hour away from his native Nyack, New York.
“After living in Southern California for 11 years, I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to spend more time with my family and friends who live in New York and New Jersey,” Norfleet said.
Norfleet’s idea of a good office of Student Life is one that is “constantly examining and reinventing itself.” According to Norfleet, a good office of Student Life is one that focuses on the student as a “whole person” and works with other departments and programs to be part of the student’s entire experience at the College. A good student life administrator, he said, should care about students and foster an inclusive, celebratory environment.
Though he said it was too early to think about any specific changes he’d made at the College, he does have an idea of how he’ll spend his first days on campus.
“I’ll have to spend a lot of time listening, learning and roaming around campus,” he said. “I want to get to know our students and hear from them about their (College) experiences. I’ll also learn as much as I can, as fast as I can, from members of the Student Life staff and from faculty, staff and administrative colleagues outside the division.”
Norfleet has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Pace University, where he started his career in student life as part of the student housing and residence life staff. He completed graduate studies in higher education and developmental studies at Fordham University and Appalachian State University, respectively.
He will defend his doctoral thesis, “How African American Students Experience a Comprehensive Public University,” in May and is expected to receive his doctorate in education from the University of California, Los Angeles in June.
Norfleet has worked in a variety of positions in higher education, ranging from his first experience as a residence supervisor at Pace to the associate dean of the College at Nyack College, a private school near his home town. At California State Polytechnic, Pomona, Norfleet has served as executive director of Educational Equity Services and director of the Educational Opportunity Program before being elevated to his current position.
Students who interviewed Norfleet during his interview at the College are excited for his arrival.
“He was by far the best candidate,” Jon Borst, Student Finance Board administrative director, said. “The College made the right decision.”
Norfleet said he was looking forward to his new job at the College.
“If the extraordinary people I met during my interviews are representative of the campus community at large, I think I’m really going to love it here,” he said.