Cleveland State to look for new major events specialist, moving forward with events as planned

By Beth Casteel

Feb. 4, 2019

Walking along the halls of the InnerLink, a staple that students will likely see during their journey from one class to the next are the brightly colored posters that advertise one of the many events on the campus.
While students have seen the posters and attended the events, that doesn’t mean they actually know the amount of work that went into any of these advertised activities. The people behind the scenes spend months planning and getting ready for those events, and for a little over six years, it was with the help of Catherine Tiesling.

The name might not sound familiar to the everyday student, but you certainly know the events she’s had a hand in. Whether it be Family Weekend, Magnus Fest or Camp Vike, Tiesling spent her time at Cleveland State overseeing approximately 130 events for the university as its campus life and major events specialist.

As her job description would explain, she oversaw many of the school’s high-profile events from the planning stages to the final evaluation of the event. With her work so prominent with the university, there was a question of how the university’s events would be impacted following her leave.

Since Tiesling left the university, the student life staff and Campus Activities Board students have made a joint effort to ensure that events will continue without any disruption. While the two are working together, that doesn’t mean they haven’t made some changes to make sure this transition time is smooth.

According to Matthew Knickman, director of the Center for Student Activities and Involvement, prior to Tiesling’s departure from the university, she spoke with the CAB to see if it could limit the number of yearly events.

As Knickman noted, the school felt that CAB, which averaged around 50 events a semester, had too many events at one time. With Tiesling’s departure, lowering the number seemed like a good route to go.

“Not only did that help those students out because [now] they can really focus on the catch phrase ‘quality versus quantity,’” Knickman said. “But then in a time of transition, it [has] helped us naturally (to) have (fewer) events to try to make sure we're helping them plan.”

Although the school is limiting the number of events throughout the semester, Knickman assured that the university has made a commitment to make sure that traditions have been kept for each major event it hosts.

As he noted, the goal isn’t to take away from these known and loved events, but to enhance them to make them better than before. With that said, the university is also attempting to find a replacement for Tiesling.

“So anytime somebody leaves, you have the opportunity to evaluate the job description,” Knickman said. “When she left, it was sort of an opportunity to go back to the drawing board a little bit. And one of the things we knew [was that] Catherine didn't build her program overnight, she built it over six years. So, when we look to replace her, we're looking at some different models, but none of it is finalized yet.”

With Cleveland State still in the beginning stages of looking for Tiesling’s replacement, it does have some ideas of what type of qualifications her replacement will need to have.

For example, candidates probably will be required to have a master’s degree. Other requirements are still being worked out and not set in stone, but some experience in similar positions and the ability to “hit the ground running” are things they’d like to see in a potential candidate.

Additionally, they would also like someone who recognizes that no two Cleveland State students are alike. With varying demographics and obligations, the school also wants to ensure that whoever takes this position can meet the needs and interests of the student population when it comes to events.

But, as Knickman stressed, several offices will be involved in crafting and reviewing the position description.

While the university is still a few steps away from starting the process of finding a full-time replacement for Tiesling, that doesn’t mean they aren’t hard at work planning for future events and making sure the behind-the-scenes transition is smooth for those involved.

“Fortunately, she has two outstanding graduate assistants who are still here, so they're helping with a lot [of the planning],” Knickman said. “We [also] divvied up what the professional staffing responsibilities look like. Our number one goal is we want students who know her to notice that she's gone because they knew her, and they miss her. But our hope is that the general student who may not have known her [doesn’t notice much of a change, and] we hope that we don't skip a beat.”


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