Last updated on Oct 30, 2017
By Jada Butler
At the beginning of the fall semester, Michael Berthel, the associate dean of students and director of campus life, was promoted to Dean of Students, replacing Abby Van Vlerah, who was promoted to dean of the LIU regional campuses, Riverhead and Brentwood.
Berthel joined the University as associate director of student life in 2013, later merging with resident life to become campus life in 2014, although he has been working in higher education for 10 years. “I am excited to take on a larger role at the University and continue to serve as an advocate for LIU Post students,” he said. He stressed that over the past few years, he has worked to increase opportunities for students to engage with the University and become more active and involved on campus. “As dean of students, I want to continue to create a vibrant student experience and increase student engagement,” he added.
Berthel is enjoying his new role and the opportunity to work with LIU Promise, Campus Life, the Center for Healthy Living and other areas to support students. “I am excited that this new role will allow me the ability collaborate with faculty and staff across the University to identify ways to best serve our students,” he said.
In the past four years, Berthel had worked closely with Van Vlerah, learning much from her. “LIU Post students have been lucky to have her as Dean. She has served as an amazing mentor for me and I look forward to building on the student-centered approach that she brought to the position,” Berthel said.
Van Vlerah is excited to take on her new role as well. “I am able to expand my own portfolio while also serving the university,” she said. The regional Brentwood and Riverhead campuses have full-time and part-time graduate and undergraduate students taking classes in person, and a smaller number of students enrolled in the online programs for the homeland security and terrorism institute.
LIU Riverhead is located at Suffolk County Community College’s eastern campus in Riverhead and Brentwood is located at the Micheal J. Grant campus of Suffolk County Community College. Several clubs and organizations are already in place at these campuses, and Van Vlerah wants to continue to grow student involvement. Van Vlerah replaces Donna Di Donato, who was team of the regional campuses until summer 2017, although Di Donato is still mentioned as dean and chief operating officer on the LIU Brentwood website. It is unknown whether Di Donato had retired or was terminated.
Van Vlerah has confidence in Berthel to succeed her as dean of students. “He has my full support in his new role and I know he will do a fantastic job,” she said. Jean Anne Smith, assistant dean of students, agrees. “Michael is a dedicated, talented and extremely qualified higher educational professional and I am excited to be a member of his team,” she said.
Ashley John, one of the assistant directors of Campus Life, will be replacing Berthel as interim director of campus life until a new director can be appointed.
Berthel has moved his office to the second floor of Hillwood Commons, in the back of the LIU Promise office, room 270. “I encourage students to stop in with a questions, concern, or just to say hello,” Bethel said.