By Samantha Felicetti
Dr. Stan Bucholc, the dean of Student and Academic Life at Fitchburg State University, plays a big role in the students’ lives and some may not even realize this. He works with the Student Government Association and other clubs and organizations, but that is not the only thing he does. “I work with students that wind up having some kind of issue in their life during their college career,” says Bucholc. These issues can range from family problems to things such as anxiety, depression, and mental health issues.
“I say that life happens … so I try to work with the students because normally their first reaction is to get out of here, and somehow or another they think that’s going to make things better,” Bucholc states.
This fact may be true for some students but, “there is always something in between, such as reducing your class load, or I can help with financial aid so that they can continue to go to school,” says Bucholc. There is whole range of things that not only Bucholc, but the faculty and staff can do to help these students. Bucholc estimates he helps between 200 to 225 students a year and says, “It’s rewarding because I work with parents and students and identify things that we can do to help them along the way and you know almost all of them are eventually successful.”
Bucholc will not just write off a student and call it a day. “It’s easy to say you have a poor grade-point average and you’ve flunked and you’re suspended [and] gone. That’s the easy thing to do. You don’t need me to do that, a computer can,” says Bucholc. What he does is figure out why this student is failing or doing poorly in school. “I’m gonna say this: 99 percent of the students don’t slack off and … there is usually something that occurred that they thought they could handle themselves, and found out they couldn’t and it had a negative effect on them.” He does not just write these students off and say good-bye; instead he talks to them, tries to figure what is wrong, and how he can help to fix it.
There are days in Bucholc’s life that are harder than others; a dean’s job is not an easy one. Take the first two weeks of the semester, for instance. “It’s not difficult, but it’s crazy because you get used to the pattern over the summer and then everyone is back.” Then there are of course Fridays and Mondays: “That is one thing that I unfortunately have to deal with.” Bucholc adds, “Sometimes a lot of things happen on Thursday night. Those are difficult sometimes.”
A lot of things can occur on campus that Bucholc has to deal with. “Someone is assaulted, or God forbid, a student is an accident somewhere and then passes away,” says Bucholc.
But despite the difficult and the bad things that can happen, Bucholc loves his job. “I think it’s a great job I like it a lot. There are days where I want to shut off my light and go home, but it’s things that happen and you know it happens on every college campus, and I’m going to have to say we are in pretty good shape compared to other institutions. So a lot of days I think I’m lucky.”