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Get to Know Sue Weitz, Spring 2020 Voyage Executive Dean


While many faculty, staff, and students are experiencing life onboard the MV World Odyssey for the very first time, Spring 2020 Voyage Executive Dean Sue Weitz is an experienced sailor. Returning to the Semester at Sea team for her fifth voyage since 1996, Sue brings 45 years of higher education experience to her role.

Sue’s formal education culminated with a PhD in Higher Education Leadership and Administration from Gonzaga University, where she worked in roles such as Vice President for Student Life and Senior Advisor to the President. Throughout her career, Sue has received numerous national and regional awards from NASPA and JASPA, along with her awards from her home university at Gonzaga for outstanding performance.

Sue is extremely passionate about Semester at Sea, and is honored to be sailing again.

Learn more about Sue below!

What does your role entail on this ship?

Sue Weitz: I’m in charge of all of the programmatic part of what goes on. It’s kind of like being a president of a university, but the cabinet and team is smaller. We have an amazing leadership team and incredible faculty, so my role is to motivate them and keep everyone on track, while still giving them independence and leadership to let them do their jobs without me interfering too much.

What are you most looking forward to this semester?

Every semester that I’ve been on Semester at Sea, I look forward to the students’ “aha” moments. It touches my heart when they go out and make connections versus just seeing things and visiting sites. Whenever they come back from India, for example, I love watching them transform. That’s one of the things I look forward to the most.

I’m also looking forward to building a learning community. I consider the ship another port, and this is a port you don’t think about, but it has such an influence. So, shipboard life is one of my favorite things about Semester at Sea.

In which ways do you think Semester at Sea is different from your typical college campus?

I think it’s actually better than a typical college campus. On land campuses, we’re always talking about having a learning community where everybody’s together, but it’s impossible to do because people have lives and they can go home after work. Here, it’s really different. You really can establish a learning community; you can’t get away from it. There’s a sense of togetherness and an understanding that everyone is learning from everyone.

What are some of your hobbies outside of work?

I love to cook, and I’m a tennis player. My real hobby is my family—I have two children and they’ve both done Semester at Sea three times. My daughter was the Field Director on the last voyage, and the first time she ever went was when she was 10.

What do you hope students leave with as they disembark this voyage?

I want them to leave with a global consciousness and a sensitivity to people in the world. Students are exposed to a lot, and their minds and hearts are connected as they are exposed experientially. I want them to leave thinking about how there’s a greater world out there, and how they can individually and collectively make the world a better place.

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