Dean’s Office reorganizes

In response to a proposal from the Committee on Undergraduate Life (CUL) proposal last year, the Dean’s Office has created a new position for a director of Residential and Student Life. The director, who is to be hired for the 2003-2004 academic year, would primarily oversee the Community Life Coordinators (CLCs) and the Office of Campus Life. Other current openings in the administration include ones for the positions of associate dean of the faculty and for director of budgets.

Nancy Roseman, Dean of the College, said the role of the new Director of Residential Life involves “[integrating aspects of] life outside the classroom. . . [and making] sure all the programs are supervised and on the same page.” Roseman does not anticipate that the CLC program will change very much under the new direction, though she insisted that with new leadership the CLC program could be “tighter and more focused.”

Jean Thorndike, director of campus safety, currently serves many of the functions of the director of Residential Life’s functions by overseeing the CLC program. According to Roseman, Thorndike is right now “practically doing two jobs.” There is a possibility that Thorndike may apply for the new position, though she expressed uncertainty at the moment. Either way, she will be in close contact with the new position, as the director of campus safety and the director of Residential Life would have what Thorndike called a “working partnership.”

According to the job listing, the new director will also collaborate with Buildings and Grounds (B&G) and the directors of multicultural programming and community service. In addition, he or she would be in charge of recruiting, training and supervising student residential staff such as House Coordinators (HCs) and would work with budget management, program development and implementation. He or she would also supervise the Student Activities Office and, in a few years, oversee the management of the new student center.

Describing the new position, Thorndike said, “It should be very exciting to continue to develop the residential and student life program for Williams College. The program actually began in May 2002 when the HCs were first hired, and then the CLCs were hired in August 2002. The new position will be a guiding force and play an important role in furthering the development of the program,” she said. “It is a unique opportunity for the director, the CLCs, the HCs, the student body, as well as other members of the College community to work together. You might say the concrete for the foundation has been poured and cured and now it’s time to build the house.”

Roseman said the College is looking for a candidate with experience in working with student affairs and who possesses a distinct understanding of the liberal arts philosophy. A master’s degree is not required, but is preferred. Most importantly, Roseman explained that the new director must “be someone who understands the unique culture of Williams and won’t have a paternal or heavy-handed approach.”

“It would be interesting even to a seasoned professional because it’s a very new program and it’s always challenging to build a new [system],” Roseman said.

The committee that is currently looking for an individual to fill the position includes Roseman as well as Peter Murphy, professor of English, Charles Dew, professor of history and former head of the CUL, and Gail Bouknight-Davis, associate director of the Multicultural Center. Roseman also hopes to find a few students to serve on the committee, though they would need to be available through June. After interviewing a smaller selection of candidates, the committee will make a recommendation and Roseman will make the ultimate decision.The office of the new director of Residential Life will be in Hopkins next year. After the reconstruction of Baxter, the Dean’s Office plans to move the director’s office to the new Student Center.

Administrative Openings

The Administration is also looking for a new associate dean of the faculty to replace Tom Wintner ’93, who served for three years. Wintner, who previously worked at the Office of Admissions, will leave to attend law school.

Tom Kohut, professor of history and dean of the faculty, said that Wintner “has done an absolutely spectacular job and it’s really sad that he’s leaving.

“Having been a student here, he really understands the place,” said Kohut, who also said that one of the top priorities in the search is finding an applicant who “understands what it’s like to be a faculty member at a liberal arts college.”

There are currently close to 150 applicants applying both from the College and elsewhere, including a large number of deans of faculty and associate deans of faculty from other colleges. The administration hopes to hire the director by mid June and have him or her start work at the College on July 1.

Rick Myers, associate provost and director of budgets, will also be leaving next year to work at Smith College.