Interim dean of CCOM starts new lunch program

Interim dean Geertsema-Sligh speaks with the Collegian’s Cameron Walker in Atherton Union. Photo by Lauren Hough.


Students in the College of Communication will soon have the opportunity to connect on a more personal level with their dean. 

Interim dean Margaretha Geertsema-Sligh is launching a new project for CCOM students called “Lunch with the Dean.”

The idea came from the soon-to-be-launched university-wide program from Provost Brooke Barnett and Bruce Arick, vice president for finance and administration. The program, which will include all six academic colleges, will encourage faculty and staff to invite and dine with students while getting to know one another. Barnett said she likes Geertsema-Sligh’s initiative and thinks it is a great way to meet more students. 

“I did hear that the interim dean was doing that which I think is great,” Barnett said. “The larger idea that I think she is thinking about is those informal relationship building moments that can happen over a meal.”

Every Monday from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m., Geertsema-Sligh will eat lunch with a different student. Geertsema-Sligh said the 30-minute informal lunch will allow her to connect with CCOM students on a personal level and learn more about their experience at Butler so far. 

“I like to eat lunch, you know?” Geertsema-Sligh said. “I can just as well take that time and spend that with a student [because] really I want to get to know students better. I care about the well-being of our students, and we want to build community in the College of Communication.” 

One of Geertsema-Sligh’s main motivations for starting the project was the interpersonal relationships she felt like she lost since becoming CCOM’s interim dean back in April 2021 and stepping away from a classroom setting.

“Since I’ve become interim dean, I actually don’t see students very often because I go to meetings and so on,” Geertsema-Sligh said. “But this is one way that I can really make sure that I have a one-on-one contact with the student, and I want to ask [questions]. I want to get to know them.” 

Junior strategic communication major Lauren Houldsworth was one of five students to sign up within the first hour the announcement was made. Houldsworth said she signed up simply because she wanted to get to know Geertsema-Sligh better and learn more about how CCOM will continue to grow as a college. 

“I think it is incredible how she is opening this opportunity so that she is not just a face and name in our college,” Houldsworth said. “It shows how she truly cares about the students, who they are, what they care about and what they are hoping to see from their college.”

Geertsema-Sligh’s lunch program will officially start on Sept. 12. CCOM students can sign up for future dates via the signup link.


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