Bolton accepts offer to continue role as Dean of College

In an all-campus e-mail on Jan. 30, President Falk announced that Dean Bolton will serve a second term as Dean of the College. After she accepted the offer, the Board of Trustees approved the appointment on the weekend of Jan. 26-27. Bolton began her first term as Dean of the College on July 1, 2010, taking over from Karen Merrill. Bolton has been at the College since 1995, teaching and researching physics before becoming dean. Bolton has focused on updating First Days programming and improving how the College deals with sexual assault.

“We all benefit from the great dedication and skill that Sarah brings to the work of advancing our students’ academic and personal growth,” Falk wrote. “Much of that work [is] invisible except to individual students.” Falk praised the relationships she has built with Steve Klass, vice president for campus life, and Mike Reed, vice president for strategic planning and diversity.

Overall, Bolton is enthusiastic about continuing her work in the deans’ office.

“Being the dean at Williams is a tremendous privilege, and I am grateful to continue to do it, even on the hardest days,” Bolton wrote. “The only concern I have is in regards to teaching in the Physics department, which I also love to do. I miss those remarkable colleagues and the chance to talk about a subject I love with students.” Since Bolton is the only female physics professor in the entire department, discontinuing her teaching is a loss for such a male-dominated field.

Despite these concerns, Bolton felt extending her service as dean was best for her and the school.

“I was convinced to continue in the dean’s role in part because we are in the middle of some important work in a number of areas, and I’d like to be able to continue those projects,” she said.  She cited the “great pleasure of working with remarkable students, staff and faculty across the College” as one of the main reasons for continuing in her capacity. Bolton said she particularly loves “working with so many student leaders [whose] vision and energy for making Williams even better is inspiring, all the time.” Bolton also appreciates that her role affords her “the opportunity to work with the tremendous staff that support Williams students in every realm of their lives.”

In his e-mail, Falk also acknowledged the work she has done to lead the “process by which she’s built new collaborative relationships” and to “focus our collective attention and energy on the issue of sexual assault.” This includes the rebuilding of the sexual assault reporting and informational section of the Williams website and the training of multiple members of Campus Safety & Security in responding to sexual assault, as well as the ongoing work of the Sexual Assault Committee.

Bolton says that she expects combating sexual assault to remain one of her chief concerns as Dean of the College.

“We need to be the very best we can be in sexual assault prevention, awareness and response,” she said. “It’s serious work and requires ongoing effort from many people.”

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