Hamline welcomes new Safety and Security director

Andrea Vircks is bringing in years of experience and eagerness to connect with students to her new position.

Catherine Stolz, Reporter

Andrea Vircks, Hamline’s new director of Safety and Security has only been on the job for about a month, but is already setting new goals for the department. While Vircks says she is still in the learning phase of her position, she is changing the atmosphere of the department and the Hamline community.

Just prior to coming to Hamline, Vircks served for seven years as the assistant director of Safety and Security at St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul.  Vircks described the transition to Hamline to be both easy and challenging, saying that although the work is the same, the culture is different.

“It’s a continuously unfolding process,” she said. “I have to figure out where Hamline is now and how to continuously grow the connections with the community.”

While Vircks says she does not want to make any drastic changes to the department just yet, she has already begun to implement her goals. She hopes to make the department more transparent and customer service oriented.

“Customer service is happening now, but it needs to be more apparent. We are partners with students, not an outside entity. We are all here for the same goal,” she said.

To achieve this, Vircks hopes to make the department more accessible to students by keeping the website and other resources up to date, encouraging her staff to talk directly with students in order to learn what students want from the department, and to be in touch with the administration as to how best the department can meet the needs of Hamline.

Communication is also an important aspect of customer service to Vircks.  She hopes to continuously get to know the student body better and has already attended sporting events and plans to meet with HUSC as well. Vircks hopes that students will see Safety and Security as partners and become a more integrated presence on campus.

As director of the department, Vircks is not only in charge of a staff that is trained in emergency medical response, fire safety and risk and emergency management, but also keeps Hamline up to date on fire safety, keeps a detailed crime log and is in charge of investigation response, partnering with Title IX to investigate sexual violence cases on campus and intrusion investigation.

“Safety and Security is more than unlocking doors,” she said. “We have to be response trained in case of emergency.”

Vircks’ favorite part of working at Hamline so far is the people.

“Everyone here has been so welcoming and friendly and approachable,” Vircks said. “I am really looking forward to working with this community.”

Vircks has her BA in communications studies and a Master of Arts degree in organizational leadership.  She has also completed a certificate in dispute resolution at the Hamline School of Law, and actively participates as a member of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA).