New Director of Student Services Feels Called to Role

Monday, May 2, 2022

After an extensive search, Conrad Grebel University College has named Beverley Fretz as Director of Student Services. The search committee found Fretz to be authentic, energetic, and engaging, with clear enthusiasm for Grebel and its mission and values. 

Beverley Fretz
With a PhD in Adult Education and specialization in Leadership and Higher Education from OISE at the University of Toronto, Fretz brings a deep understanding of post-secondary education and a commitment to a student-centred approach in her work. Fretz has worked at the University of Guelph for the last seven years as Manager of Program Development in Continuing Education, where her duties included the teaching and learning process for numerous programs. In her previous job in employee support services, her role included working with clients to provide psychological health and safety consultation, crisis intervention services, and health and wellness training.

"Beverley is clearly very student-oriented,” summarized Paul Penner, Director of Operations at Grebel, who also chaired the search committee. “Her responses to interview questions showed a real interest in people. Even answers to questions about policies and procedures would inevitably return to the impact on students. Her concern is very much that our organization’s policies serve to better the lives of students.” This emphasis aligns with Grebel’s new strategic plan, which pledges to centre attention on the student experience, from recruitment, to graduation, to alumni engagement.  

“I’m pleased to have someone with Beverley’s experience in the public university sector join our administrative team,” shared President Marcus Shantz. “Beverley combines extensive professional experience in working with young adults, with a deeply grounded sense of call for this work.”    

“My experience studying and living at a Mennonite college, including building lasting and important friendships, benefiting from faculty mentors, and growing from my Student Service Term in Haiti, continue to inform my life,” explained Fretz, who attended Goshen College in Indiana for her undergraduate degree. “I welcome the opportunity to ensure other students have a university experience that informs their life in a way that engenders learning, faith, and the pursuit of peace and justice.” 

“I hope to utilize my experience working with students and learning communities, both nationally and internationally, to build on the work that has been done by Student Services,” Fretz said. “This includes continuing Grebel’s commitment to building a community where students find belonging and wellbeing, form lifelong friendships, gain leadership and service experience, and develop as whole persons. Like Grebel, for me this includes embracing diversity, inclusion, and anti-oppression.” 

“I am inspired by the ongoing work of the Student Services team and look forward to continuing to carry out the important duties of recruitment, leadership development, student support and engagement, and nurturing faith,” added Fretz. “I recognize the responsibility and importance of the role of Director of Student Services, and I am in awe of the work carried out by Mary Brubaker-Zehr and her team over the past 26 years.” 

Fretz grew up in the Waterloo Region and is a member of Bloomingdale Mennonite Church. An active volunteer, Fretz has worked with United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Philippines and Thailand, Mennonite Central Committee in Ontario, and Christian Peacemaker Teams in Palestine and Israel. She will begin her new role in July 2022, as Mary Brubaker-Zehr retires.