Victor Arcelus named dean of student life at Connecticut College
Victor J. Arcelus will join Connecticut College in July as the new dean of student life, charged with enhancing and extending the personal and intellectual development of the College´s diverse student body. A specialist in holistic learning, Arcelus will oversee residential education and living, student engagement and leadership education, health and counseling services, sexual violence education and advocacy, student wellness and health education, and the college’s student-governed judicial process.
Arcelus comes to Connecticut College from Gettysburg College, where he has been assistant dean of college life and director of residence life since 2008. Prior to holding that position, he was the director of student rights and responsibilities, overseeing all aspects of the student conduct system, and the associate director of residential life. While holding those two posts he also served as an adviser to international students.
While at Gettysburg, Arcelus designed and implemented a number of model initiatives and programs, including a first-year program, gender-neutral housing and residence life staff restructuring. His vast experience has allowed him to present extensively at conferences and workshops on topics ranging from intellectual climate, learning centeredness and co-curricular learning goals to student life, residential life, student conduct and traditions.
At Connecticut College, Arcelus will report to Carolyn Denard, the dean of the college.
“Victor’s passionate interest in student development, in many areas of student life, is compelling. His education and experience make him the ideal choice to lead the College’s efforts to enhance and extend the personal and intellectual development of our diverse student body,” Denard said. “He also brings a research background and many years of experience in developing collaborations between academic and student affairs. His leadership in this area will be an important contribution to our campus community.”
Arcelus earned a doctorate in higher education from Pennsylvania State University, with anthropology as his area of concentration. His dissertation is an ethnographic study of how faculty and student affairs staff perceive their own and each other's roles on campus and how these perceptions influence the potential for developing a learning-centered campus.
He also holds a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and biology from Bucknell University. While pursuing his Ph.D., he worked at Bucknell as a residence manager, class and institutional affinity programming coordinator, residential life coordinator and residence director. He was a high school guidance counselor prior to making the transition to higher education.