Office of the Reynolds Club and Student Activities (ORCSA) Director Jennifer Bird has resigned her position and is leaving the University, effective August 2. A search committee has been created and is already in the process of finding a new ORCSA director.
"I'm off to Jackson, Mississippi," Bird said. "My husband has accepted a clerkship with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. We'll be in Mississippi for a year, then probably off to New York or Boston. I plan to continue my work in education policy and government."
The committee is chaired by Ingrid Gould, the Associate Director of Human Resources for the Graduate School of Business. It is comprised of students and staff who have been searching for a replacement for Bird for several months prior to the public announcement of her resignation. Administrators have been aware of Bird's departure since early spring, but the formal announcement was made Monday by Deputy Dean of Students Bill Michel.
Bird received her A.B. from the University in 1997. She was promoted to Director of ORCSA after serving as a program coordinator beginning in July 1999.
Michel and Bird have developed a close working relationship during their time developing student activities. "Jen has done a terrific job as director, and I am sorry she is leaving. I wish she were staying," Michel said.
Although according to Michel the search committee is actively looking for a successor, he did not comment on a timetable for the decision process. "The committee memebers have met with an additional number of students and staff to talk about what they are looking for, and have placed ads in a number of national websites. The committee has received applications already and they are in the process of reviewing them."
During Bird's service as director, the number of Recognized Student Organizations has risen dramatically to its current total of more than 300 student organizations. Bird also succesfully campaigned for an increase in the student activities fee and lead the creation of the new Arts and Activity Space in Bartlett Commons.
Bird spoke highly of both the appointment of Gould as search committee chairperson and of her staff at ORCSA. "Ingrid [Gould] was a great choice to chair the committee, and I am sure the committee will find someone to continue the great work that ORCSA is doing," she said. "We have an amazing staff, and they've made my time at ORCSA wonderfully enjoyable. I will miss them much, as I will miss the rest of the University."
Although Bird is excited about heading off to Mississippi, she also expressed sadness at departing the University of Chicago. "I've loved my time at the University, both as a student and as Director of ORCSA. I will miss this community terribly. The University has been home to me, and it will continue to be a home."