A new chief of staff has been hired at Keene State College.
Over 60 applicants from around the United States applied for the chief of staff position. A search committee was formed with a sourcing specialist from The University of New Hampshire who worked alongside Keene State’s Human Resources team. The team evaluated the top candidates, held phone interviews and vetted them in order to create a “top ten” that came to campus for the final steps in the hiring process. Of the 60 candidates, Leatrice Oram was chosen for the position.
Oram has worked within higher education for over 30 years. She started her career at The Julliard School in New York City, a conservatory for dance, drama and music. Most recent;y, Oram has worked at Antioch University, working in multiple positions within admissions, student affairs, academic affairs, accreditation and academic change management.
Oram says her new position will differ from those she has held in the past.
“It’s a very complicated role, you’re pulled in a lot of different directions. My vision for the position is one that really enables President Treadwell to be the very best that she can be, both on campus, and in her external roles…In terms of supporting her campus projects, working with the cabinet, supporting their projects and freeing her up to think about bigger ideas. She has a lot of regional and national responsibilities… anything I can do to keep the home fires burning so she can do that,” Oram said.
According to Oram, her position will include listening and working with faculty and staff to aid in their success.
“The chief of staff is an unusual position because it’s really there to serve and facilitate rather than supervise and manage,” Oram stated.
During her time at Antioch University, Oram worked with Chief Enrollment Management Officer at Keene State MB Lufkin and alongside President Treadwell, who served as provost and CEO at Antioch. Oram said she worked with President Treadwell daily for a few years.
President Treadwell outlined three distinct areas that the chief of staff will be involved in: communications, supporting the cabinet and aiding in strategic planning.
“I have tried to resist having a chief of staff… but as we have had COVID, as I’m getting pulled into more national think groups, leadership groups around restructuring higher ed, as we are talking about a merger with the community college system, it’s very clear to me that I’m going to need help supporting the campus and making sure that we are being efficient… I need someone to help make effective communication, clearer communication and more access and flexibility,” Treadwell stated.
According to President Treadwell, in her position, Oram will work closely with Kelly Ricaurte and Sarah Spykman on the communications team for Keene State College.
“The first responsibility for her in the first 90 days is to develop a very clear internal and external communication plan that engages student voice, not only Student Assembly and The Equinox as two parties that we really want to have better communication flow with, but how do we communicate action?” President Treadwell said.
Oram plans to be approachable within her position to aid in the communication effort between the student body, faculty, staff and administration.
“It’s a two way street, it’s not just issuing presidential communications, it’s listening to what happens, getting feedback, knowing how things work and getting feedback when things don’t… It’s not just about communicating out but it’s about listening back. that would be students, staff, and faculty and our other partners within the community,” Oram said.
Treadwell believes that Keene State has found the best person for the position. “…Someone folks will find approachable, our students will feel good going to, our faculty and staff will feel good coming to if I’m not available and I know she will help us communicate better. That is her secret weapon.”
Leatrice Oram will assume the chief of staff position on May 3, 2021.
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