After a vacancy for six years, Richmond College found a new assistant dean and the decision to choose Raymond Trac was simple, Richmond College Dean Joe Boehman said.
“I was most impressed by his energy and his authentic self that he brought. … He was just head and shoulders above the other candidates,” Boehman said.
It’s easy to see why: upon entering Trac’s office, there was an air of hospitality and he exuded a welcoming nature. He’s worked with students since he was in Randolph-Macon College, after which he worked in an administrative position at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia. Even while attending college, he worked as an RA and found ways to support students through that.
Trac got his first job right out of college as a graduate assistant at Randolph-Macon. As a graduate assistant, Trac learned to be a professional in higher education, he said.
Trac has been able to help students with personal and academic stress for years, making his transition to the University of Richmond smooth.
“His enthusiasm has just been phenomenal,” Boehman said. “We get the reports and he’s jumping right in and happy to meet with them.”
Trac’s focus within the college is like all deans: helping students who are struggling, providing the resources and support needed and challenging them to be the best people they can be.
In addition to all of this, Trac wants to focus on mental health, he said. As men’s mental health is so stigmatized, it’s important to have a resource for those who need help, but aren’t sure where to start, he said.
“I see my role being more of a collaborator, being a connection point for a lot of these different offices on campus,” he said.
He spoke about connecting students to Counseling and Psychological Services for mental health issues and helping students get extensions on assignments by contacting the right offices. In addition to all he does professionally, Trac is finishing up his doctorate in psychological studies, which allows him to connect classwork to actual work when helping students.
“A part of me just wants to be able to connect to students on a more human level and realize that aside from being a student, you are human at the end of the day,” he said.
Trac said he saw this job as important not only because he was helping students but because he was providing an example for Asian American students and other students of color in the professional world.
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"I was told once that, ‘Wow, it’s nice to see someone as a college administrator who looks like me!’” he said. “It meant a lot to me to hear that from one of my former students.”
Having someone like Trac in a position of leadership is inspiring for Asian American students, said Tim Khoh, who is a member of Richmond College Student Government Association and the Asian American Student Union.
“I am feeling confident about his competency and leadership in his new position," he said.
Finally, Trac wanted to make sure that Westhampton College students know that he’s a resource as well.
“UR has that distinctive coordinate college structure," he said. “A goal would be figuring out more programs that we could do together.”
Although Trac has only been at UR for about six weeks now, he raved about the impression that the campus and students had made on him.
“It’s nice to be back on a college campus that has a prominent culture and a really strong identity,” he said.
He also said that UR was unique, and the students here seemed to truly be at home.
“I do feel like there is a genuine care and a genuine love from the students to make this their home away from home,” he said. “When I was working in housing at Randolph-Macon, our motto that we used was ‘When you’re here, you’re home’... There is a passion to make this feel like it’s home.”
Like some first-year students, Ben Tsuda said he didn’t really know there was a new dean. Richmond College students received an email on Sept. 16 from Trac, introducing himself and sharing his excitement about his new position and the upcoming year, but many haven’t gotten the opportunity to meet him in person yet.
“Folks think about the Dean’s Office as a place to go when you’re in trouble, but that’s really not it. It’s a place to go when you’re having trouble, and we can help you,” Boehman said.
Contact news writer Rosalie Hinke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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