Hannah Long, News Editor • firstname.lastname@example.org
Emory & Henry hosted its fourth and final interview session to fill the dean of students position on Friday, February 16.
Director of student leadership & area coordinator Josh von Castle was the interviewee for the new position. A Southwest Virginia native, Castle said his family “cleared $9,000 my senior year of high school,” and his house was condemned around the same time. He said, “the idea of me going to college was farfetched to begin with; statistically, I probably should not have been in college.”
Castle wanted to be sure that students know where he’s coming from, since it may be a position familiar to many. “When I talk about the background that I come from, what I’m really saying is that I’m able to understand the experiences of a first generation student coming from a low income household,” explained Castle.
“I have experiences being othered on campus, by being a member of the queer community. I know what it’s like to feel different and to not be included in some ways. I also share openly that I am a sexual assault survivor and also I have major depressive disorder. I share about those experiences because they are hard but they make me a little more relatable to students who are having harder experiences, so they know they can come to me,” said Castle.
Castle graduated in 2007 from Emory & Henry and again in 2017 with his master’s degree. He’s been working at E&H for 11 years. In that time, he said, he’s worked with areas as varied as student leadership development, inclusion and diversity, housing and residence life, and student activities. Castle worked in E&H Admissions for a year and then joined the student life staff.
In his presentation on February 16, Castle focused on his experiences helping students and in engaging in dialogues that are often difficult to address. He has a data-driven approach to dealing with the student body, instead of relying on anecdotal stories.
“The overall theme of my presentation was the stories we tell,” he said. “The stories we tell with individuals, the stories that we can tell with data and then the stories we should be telling… and how we can create supportive corners of campus that support a variety of folks through those challenges,” he said.
Sophomore Liberty Sheppard said she thought von Castle’s interview “went really well and it showed how Josh von Castle can relate to students.”