The University will announce its new leader for the Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education Tuesday, the first step in reevaluating its approach to substance abuse prevention.
Alexis Janda will serve as CADE’s associate director, a position that has been vacant for four years.
Janda formerly worked as assistant director for programming at Fordham University, where she managed drug education services and student organizations.
She and Assistant Dean of Students Tara Pereira – who oversees the University’s abuse prevention and behavioral offices – will begin a “listening tour” in February to explore how CADE can more effectively communicate with students, including specific outreach to athletes and freshmen.
The office – which runs the “BeWiser” campaign, Responsible Alcohol Manager training and student organization event registration – could do more to interact with students, Janda said. Goals for the overhaul will be formalized after Janda and Pereira gather input from the GW community.
Last summer, Pereira directed the revamp of Student Judicial Services – now two offices that respond to behavioral violations based on severity. Janda’s hiring also comes on the heels of the University’s revisions to its alcohol policy, a process that began in November.
“I want to get to know people and see what they need and want, and what it is that they’re looking for from CADE, so we as a community can mold CADE into what it is that GW wants and needs,” Janda said.
Janda most fondly recalled working directly with students at Fordam, where she coordinated student organization events.
She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2010 with a master’s degree in higher education administration. During that time, she lived in a fraternity house as a mentor to its members.
Pereira said Janda’s approachable personality distinguished her from other candidates during the months-long search for CADE’s leader.
“I felt like Alexis just could connect with the student population and connect with this area and felt really strongly that she was the right one to help us move CADE forward,” Pereira said.
Pereira previously emphasized her desire for a candidate with experience preventing sexual violence to complement the University’s launch of its formal sexual assault policy. Janda does not have a background in that field.
CADE has been without an official leader since 2008, when Brian Hamluk left for another post at the University. Katie Bean, assistant director and the highest-ranking member of CADE after Hamluk’s departure, left earlier this year for a similar job at St. Joseph’s University. Bean and Pereira took on larger roles in the office to compensate for the vacant associate director position.
The hiring decision came after last month’s public presentations by the final two candidates open to staff and students. During her presentation, Janda emphasized her approachable nature, but didn’t lay out details on how she would change or lead CADE.
Representatives from Janda’s previous post at the Office of Student Leadership and Community Development at Fordham did not return requests for comment.