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New dean on the block
Matthew Kurz starts as the new assistant dean of student affairs
Raised in New York City, Kurz graduated at SUNY Oneonta before later earning a master’s degree in education at the University of Idaho and eventually taking on a series of positions between 2007 to 2017, all of which were associated with assisting students in their academic lives.
“I worked with new student orientation, student union, fraternity and sorority life, Student Government Association, student media and leadership development,” Kurz said. “When the job at Quinnipiac came up, it was similar in the same areas that I’ve worked in for the past five years, and I saw it as an opportunity to kind of expand and go a lot deeper into those roles.”
Kurz is currently working as the university’s assistant dean of student affairs of campus life, where he said he will be contributing to the assurance that students are engaged in their learning both inside and outside the classroom, as well as being safe and having an understanding of the rules and services available to them at the university.
Kurz is a good match for the job, according to Vice President and Dean of Students Monique Drucker.
“Matt’s experience, skill set and philosophy were a direct match to what I was seeking for out students, staff and community at QU,” Drucker said in a statement. “I am thrilled to have him as part of the Division of Student Affairs team, and am confident that our students and staff are in good hands under his leadership.”
Before joining the Quinnipiac community, Kurz was the Director of Student Development and Campus Vibrancy at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida.
Kurz has been a member of the Quinnipiac since late August and said he enjoys the university for its beautiful campus, committed staff and the intellectual students.
“I met the students which were very smart and on point with their questions and their insights into the university which I really appreciated, because if you work at a school with smart students it makes your job a lot better,” Kurz said. “Coming from a school that had very smart students, it was important for me to continue that: students that will challenge you and do a high level of work that aren’t just going through the motions.”
Kurz hopes he can help students find clarity through challenging times. One of the things he loves about his role is the positive impact he can give to others.
Kurz has handled student issues ranging from mental health to even death, but through those experiences, Kurz said it’s worth doing it all for the students. One of the most impactful experiences of his career was when he would sit down and discuss with students about their thoughts on dropping out of college.
“I’ve definitely worked with a few students over my career that have questioned either ability to stay in school, or their desire to stay at college,” Kurz said. “I think talking through that with a person and not in a way of trying to convince them, but really trying to better understand why they are questioning it, and help them find what their purpose is, and why they’re at an institution.”
“[Kurz] has challenged me to recognize and appreciate different perspectives, helped to develop my inherent strengths as a leader, and has encouraged a healthy balance of both idealism and realism in my decision making,” Roche said, “He will bring out the best in both students and colleagues because he understands individuals have unique strengths and motivators.”
Although his experience reveals his capabilities assisting the education board, Kurz said he didn’t imagine himself taking this career path in life.
Throughout his college years, Kurz studied for an undergraduate degree in communications with minor in women’s studies and a goal to work in the field of business.
“I just saw myself in marketing or (public relations) or who knows,” Kurz said. “When it really came down to it and I was in my senior year and I was applying for jobs, I had a decision to make on what direction to take my life in. I had a mentor of mine challenge me on that, to really think about what do you want to do with your life and I hadn’t felt that way. I hadn’t really thought too deeply on what this would mean in the next 10 years.”
After pondering his future, Kurz decided that his true calling was to focus on education as he realized his love for his own university experience and generally helping others.
“This pathway through education seemed like the best route to allow me to impact people’s lives in a positive way, rather than just kind of be a cog in some big business machine,” he said.
Kurz welcomes any and all students who are in need of guidance, or have questions revolving around student affairs, to contact him and schedule an appointment through email so they can discuss whatever is on their mind.
“A lot of times if I’m meeting a group of students, I say I’m your assistant dean of students,” Kurz said. “I’m not the assistant dean of students. I work for you all.”