Indeed, the new CAS associate dean for students brings to the position a wealth of experience in delivering academic services for undergraduates, including working as a faculty advisor in the Taylor Academic Advising Center — and receiving the 2002 CAS Award for Excellence in Student Advising.
Snyder, who now oversees academic advising, preprofessional advising, student records, academic conduct, and the office of programs at CAS, replaced Loren Samons, a CAS classical studies professor, who is taking a one-year sabbatical before returning to the classroom.
One of Snyder’s priorities is using technology effectively to improve student services. “The most obvious vehicle is the CAS Web site, which is being redesigned,” he says. “I want to make sure students and faculty get the most up-to-date information about every aspect of their academic careers.”
For example, when CAS approves new courses, Snyder wants to post them on the CAS Web page immediately, especially since the CAS bulletin is published just once a year. “How do students usually find out about these courses?” he asks. “Advertisements are posted in various places, such as Room 105, the Academic Advising Center. But it would be great if students could take a look at the new courses on the Web while they are thinking about their upcoming class schedules.”
He also wants to use the Web to inform students and faculty about course requirements and changes in policy.
The academic path to Snyder’s current post was roundabout, beginning when he was a student at the Berklee College of Music. He attended Berklee for a year before deciding that he didn’t want to be a professional musician. He then majored in Latin and minored in Greek at Dickinson College and went on to earn a master’s degree in classics at Tufts University, studying Augustan poetry. His interest switched to computer science, however, and he earned a Ph.D. in the subject at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I haven’t stopped loving the classics,” he says, noting that at present he is reading a Greek version of the New Testament. His enthusiasm for music hasn’t dwindled either. But don’t expect his career to revert back to guitar playing: his performances are usually reserved for an audience consisting of his wife and three sons.
“I’m excited about the new position,” Snyder says. “Loren Samons did a great job training me, but I’m still learning.”