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Wednesday, March 25, 2020


The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has hired Dr. Michele Cruse as its associate dean of student affairs and experiential education.

The associate dean position is a restructuring of a position occupied by Dr. Holly Spittler for 37 years. Spittler retired in 2018. In the newly reconfigured position, Cruse oversees career services, judicial affairs, first-year experience and orientation, leadership development, community engagement and student engagement in the Office of Student Affairs.

In the area of career services, a full-time career educator, Dr. Reid Helford, has been hired to offer career strategies and professional development for students.

He is working to help students form a network by assisting with alumni mentorships, expanding internship and externship opportunities, and helping students develop their communication skills in professional settings. Helford is transforming the career center to expand access and inspire students to more actively attend to their purpose and direction as they work toward completing their degrees.

Cruse comes to Pitt-Bradford from Portland (Ore.) Community College, where she served as the dean of student development.

A native Pittsburgher, Cruse earned her bachelor’s degree in public administration at the University of Pittsburgh, a master’s degree at Portland State University and a doctorate in education at Oregon State University.

She has previously served as a director of TRIO Student Support Services at Portland Community College, has worked in financial aid and student accounts, and as an adjunct instructor. She has owned her own business and served as co-founder of an organization focused on workshops and education for community members, women, disenfranchised youth and those in alternative education.

Helford is a sociologist who earned his bachelor’s degree in animal sciences from the University of Kentucky and his master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from Loyola University Chicago.

He taught academically for 10 years before spending a decade working in prisons helping men transition from solitary confinement to the general population and from prison to the community.

Also reporting to Cruse is Angie Wolfe, who has a new position in student affairs as director of leadership development and community engagement. Prior to joining the student affairs team, she coordinated Pitt-Bradford’s Academic Coaching and Tutoring Center.

Wolfe coordinates student involvement in the community, service learning and other leadership programs. She is working closely with Helford to integrate leadership education with professional development for life beyond campus.

Another area overseen by Cruse is student engagement – helping students meet other students, learn new things, become involved in campus life, and develop leadership experience through clubs and other activities.

Student engagement is currently led by interim coordinator and 2018 graduate Nathan Lawyer.

Finally, Cruse supervises student judicial affairs and the student code of conduct as well as the first-year experience and orientation, which is led by Emilee Yormick, director of the first-year experience.

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