Platt-Howard Area Director Joseph Fastuca will depart Lewis & Clark on Sunday, March 21. Fastuca arrived at LC in the fall of 2018 and has been the Platt-Howard area director throughout his tenure.
Fastuca earned his master’s degree in educational leadership studies – college student development from Oklahoma State University. He was attracted to LC due to its emphasis on student participation and commitment to the liberal arts.
“I saw the position at LC, they were talking a lot about community engagement,” Fastuca said. “And students being really involved in the liberal arts and actually caring about what’s going on in the world. And that really attracted me.”
The shift in culture from a large public university in the South to a small liberal arts school in the Pacific Northwest was a big one, but it was the change Fastuca was looking for.
According to Fastuca, the most rewarding part of his job was getting to know the students.
“That’s really fun and rewarding,” Fastuca said. “Because I know how much pressure you all put on yourselves to create, change and do the best things, which is amazing. But it also takes a lot of work.”
Fastuca said he enjoyed working in Platt-Howard because it attracts a diverse group of students. Platt-Howard contains a mix of upper and lower classmen, as well as two living-learning communities.
“There is a very interesting mix of people,” Fastuca said. “The VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts) kids rule these two floors. And then there’s Global Village, and there are people of all different languages hanging out there.”
As an area director, Fastuca’s main goal was to build relationships with his residents. He appreciates that everyone comes in with different perspectives, and he enjoys sitting back and allowing his resident advisors (RAs) to take charge with little more than a nudge from him.
However, this approach has been especially difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic, as most of the college’s operations have been shifted to an online format.
“Before it would be natural, I’d see people around the halls and be like, ‘How’s it going,’ a very normal person to person conversation,” Fastuca said. “So I think we all as area directors feel drained at this point with trying to engage over Zoom.”
These pandemic challenges, along with factors related to his personal life, ultimately impacted Fastuca’s decision to leave LC. He intends to continue his professional career in educational leadership, but does not have anything planned immediately following his departure.
“I’ve tried to value taking some space and time to figure out the next move,” Fastuca said.
He said what he would miss most about LC was his team of RAs and seeing his residents every day, as well as the intimate nature of the school.
Campus Living has not yet found a replacement for Fastuca, but they intend to announce more information in the coming days.
“Residents should know that Campus Living is working on having a permanent replacement for Joseph,” Campus Living Interim Director of Housing Joe-Barry Gardner said via email. “However, in the meantime more information will be coming shortly to Platt-Howard residents about who their Professional Area Director will be in the interim. ”
Fastuca will be missed by the LC community.
“Again, we are going to miss Joseph and all things he has contributed to the Campus Living team,” Gardner said.