Mr. Dougherty Returns as Judge, Jury, and Executioner

Tom Verdi

(not really, but he is the new Dean of Students)


After an eight year hiatus, Mr. Dougherty returns to the all-important position as Malvern Prep’s Dean of Students. The Friar’s Lantern had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Dougherty (“Doc” as he is often called) and ask him a few questions about his return. The last question is a joke, by the way.  I don’t actually think Macbeth is a remarkable figure. Also, in the audio exclusive, Mr. Dougherty discusses orientation with new faculty and topics that have come up in his former Honors British Lit class.

FL: How do you feel about returning as the Dean of Students?

DOC: Excited. Student behavior’s always one of the things we really have to concentrate on. My expectations haven’t changed from expecting kids to be respectful, responsible, courteous, and aware. It’s a new opportunity with Mr. Talbot; the challenges I see right now are the morphing of a wireless policy, a communication policy—that’s one of the things. It’s exciting, to be setting out to try to help everyone develop social and responsible behavior.

FL: What are your main goals and concerns with the position?

DOC: I think the ultimate goal automatically is by definition—to help develop young men’s awareness of their self, their community, and their behavior. I want to look at the handbook and see what’s working, what can be taken out, what can be changed. That’s going to be tough, though; I think the handbook is printed today or tomorrow. As far as changing things I’m not sure that’s going to happen. I want to see probably a more flexible dress code. Student accountability—I need to know students’ whereabouts, not accountability for their behavior. Attendance, class attendance would be one of things to try to get a wrap on. I think those are just the tips.

FL: Your classroom demeanor is pretty well known at the school. Are you going to rule the Dean of Students position with an iron fist?

DOC: [Laughs] Great question, Tom. I think the question more is, “How can you sort of retain your personality when you’re the Dean of Students? I think one of the things that has to be is when I’m dean of students, we’re talking about behaviors and expected behaviors and norms and I’ll bring a seriousness to that. My classroom delivery is one that I hope lets kids be more engaged and enthusiastic about the classroom. In class I don’t think I’ll change at all. In the hallways I’m still ‘Mr. Dougherty,’ but in the hallways I’m also the Dean of Students and I think that it’s easy to maintain. It’s pretty easy to get serious really quick when you have a serious topic. I don’t think my classroom demeanor betrays the seriousness I put in the classroom and the study that we’re doing in there. Will people not like me sometimes? Yeah, I’m assuming that. But it’s never personal; it’s always just about expected behavior.

FL: Also another class related question. We studied some pretty remarkable figures, in their own sense. Will you take any of those leadership skills from class?—such as Macbeth, Big Brother, or Stalin into your role?

DOC:  [Laughs] I’m not teaching Honors British lit, I’m losing! 1984, I’m losing. The dictators, I’m losing! Macbeth, V for Vendetta…. No, I don’t think they’re role models for effective behavior management, but understand there might be a little discomfort when I am acting as Big Brother at times, but it’s a necessary step [laughs].

FL: Any other comments?

DOC: I’m excited. I’m busy this week and next week and I enjoy that position. It’s a dynamic position; you’re involved with kids more directly. There’s a new challenge every day, every period. I think it’s one of the more vital positions on campus, and we’ll see how it goes.