Now in his fifth year at the University, President Fr. Jeffrey von Arx is continuing to implement his vision for Fairfield.

One step in that process is to build a power structure that fits the goals of the University.
Last week, von Arx announced that Senior Vice President Billy Weitzer will take on more responsibilities and become the Executive Vice President. Weitzer will now play greater role in the day-to-day management of the University. All vice presidents will now report directly to Weitzer instead of von Arx.

‘Billy’s charge continues to be to implement the University’s vision and strategic plan,’ said von Arx in a letter to faculty and staff. ‘In my discussions with the vice presidents about this change, I have made it clear that they will continue to have access to me as necessary to fulfill their responsibilities.’

So far the transition has been smooth for Weitzer.

‘It has been a relatively easy transition because it was so subtle,’ he said. ‘The vice presidents are still in charge of the logistics and how they run their divisions. My responsibility is to ensure that we are working together.’

Weitzer is currently in his third year at Fairfield and has over 20 years of experience working in academia.

Prior to coming to the University, he served as the senior associate provost and dean of continuing studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. from 1991 to 2005. Before moving to Wesleyan he was the assistant vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst from 1985 to 1991.

‘I was hired two years ago to help implement the strategic plan,’ said Weitzer. ‘I was attracted to Fairfield University when I saw that it is a great place that wants to get even better.

‘There is a striving here. When you come from somewhere else to here you recognize the energy,’ he added.

Von Arx is now more able to tend to the other affairs that come with being a University president not related to daily management.

Von Arx said that he is now ‘spending more time on constituency work on and off campus, and of course, fundraising. The new structure will enable me to fulfil my externally focused obligations, particularly as we contemplate a potential capital campaign.’

Weitzer said that von Arx was still the figurehead of leadership and subsequent decisions for the University.

‘Fr. von Arx has to present the institution and the progress we are making to the community,’ said Weitzer. ‘He is the leader and provides the vision for Fairfield University.’

Von Arx also said that he hopes to continue teaching courses, as he did last year and will contribute to ‘discussions about national issues in higher education.’

‘At the same time, I will certainly be present on campus and engaged with campus constituencies,’ von Arx added.

Weitzer also said that he plans to make himself more visible and open to the student body.

‘My student interaction is more limited then I would like it to be,’ said Weitzer. ‘Finding opportunities to interact with students has been difficult.

‘I need to interact with students to know where they are coming from. It’s not that students need to know me. They need to know Fr. von Arx.’

Christopher Haliskoe contributed to this report.

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