New hires and staff changes

January 12, 2023

Dear Albion colleagues,

The fall semester has brought some changes to Albion College. The Cabinet has filled some key positions in the past few weeks after extensive national searches. We are pleased to be able to start the new year with new colleagues who are focused on the success of every Albion student.

President’s Office

Chief Belonging Officer

Taran McZee has accepted the position of chief belonging officer after a national search this fall. In this integral role on campus, McZee will develop and champion the implementation of strategies that promote a culture of equity and belonging internally within the College and in the many diverse communities we serve. To create a unique and differentiating culture based on trust, McZee will focus on promoting a culture that values the contributions of our students, faculty and staff and is committed to building an inclusive, encouraging and caring environment where all can thrive. McZee joined the College Jan. 9

Academic Affairs

SPP transition

Dr. Kafui Kouakou, the dean of the School for Public Purpose and Professional Advancement (SPP), is leaving Albion College Jan. 13 to take a position closer to his home in Connecticut. Kouakou has been at SPP for nearly two years and has significantly contributed to the development of our experiential learning programs, including certificates and badge offerings. Taking his place on an interim basis is Dr. Troy Kase, the current director of the Career and Internship Center (CIC). Kase will

retain some of his duties for the CIC as he has been instrumental in bringing business, industry and academics together to provide outstanding opportunities for Albion College students, graduates and alumni and he will also add to his portfolio many of the duties of overseeing SPP in the coming semester.

Permanent hire made for Whitehouse Nature Center

Monica Day joined Albion College Jan. 9 as the executive director of the Center for Sustainability and Environment and the director of the Whitehouse Nature Center. Day’s 20-plus years of experience creating regenerative outdoor and environmental programs will aid in this newly combined position. With a master’s in resource development, a bachelor’s in ecology and experience in grant fund-raising and management, Day is a good fit for our changing needs. Her specialties include group facilitation, leading the resolution of challenging group decisions, environmental justice, prairie restoration, public speaking and engaged teaching and learning.

Enrollment Management

The Office of Admission is pleased to announce the promotion of Heather Strecker to senior director of Admission.

Institutional Advancement

The Office of Advancement has seen the transition of two staff members. Talmon Butler, senior director of Annual Campaign, and Kristen Sarniak, assistant director of Alumni Affairs and Student Engagement have both moved on to new challenges and we wish them well. The office has begun searches to replace both positions.

Student Development

Intercollegiate Athletics

With the promotion of the women’s soccer head coach (Eric Scott) to associate athletics director to replace the retired Greg Polnasek, the departure of the associate dean for wellness and the athletics director, we are actively working to fill the athletics director position. The search process for the AD is underway, though interviews have not yet begun. Andy Lawrence, our assistant AD For Athletic Training, is serving as our interim AD until the position is filled.

Title III positions

With the advent of the Title III grant and the new and exciting changes coming to campus to allow every student to succeed at Albion College no matter their starting place. The grant is being put into place and will create several new positions. The positions currently available to quickstart the grant and truly support our students are: Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Title III Program Director and the Library and Cutler Center Operations Manager. For more information or to apply for these positions, please refer to our listings.

TRiO director

Jackie Gutierrez began as TRIO Student Support Services program director at Albion College in early December after 14 years of service at Kellogg Community College. During her time in higher education, Gutierrez has worked in various roles, including registration, scholarship/financial aid and, most recently, as Program Coordinator for KCC’s TRIO Upward Bound program. Gutierrez was born and raised in Albion and is excited to work at the College she grew up in and around.

Campus Safety

And, sadly, we will say goodbye to long-time Associate Dean of Students and Director of Campus Safety Kenneth Snyder early in the new year as he returns to his passion for municipal law enforcement as a detective for Eaton Rapids.

Snyder will be missed on campus for his calm demeanor, knowledge, leadership and insight. He has been instrumental in making our campus safer in his 20-plus years of service to Albion College. During his tenure, Snyder’s responsibilities in Student Development were expanded to provide administrative oversight for Student Health Services and the Student Conduct process. In recognition of these additional responsibilities, he was promoted to assistant dean of Community Standards in 2007 and associate dean of students in 2015.

Snyder’s ties to Albion College and the city of Albion go beyond his employment, as his wife Victoria Garcia Snyder, ’89, is currently serving her second term as Albion’s mayor, and their oldest daughter Rebekah, ’14, received a Young Alumni Award in 2019.

We wish him well and will always count him among the Albion family. David Leib will serve in an interim capacity as we search for a full-time director of Campus Safety throughout the late spring. Ken will serve temporarily in a part-time role to ease the transition.

Please join me in welcoming our new colleagues and thanking those colleagues who are moving on to new opportunities for their service to Albion College.


Joe Calvaruso, ’78
Interim President