On Sept. 21, at the first faculty meeting of the semester, Provost David Love announced the creation of a new dean of admission and financial aid position.
The new dean will sit above the directors of admission and financial aid and will report to the provost. The new dean will work to ensure both offices work together.
“Bringing admission and financial aid together will support the common goal of not just bringing the most talented and diverse set of students to campus, but also of supporting them,” Love said.
“We work hard to attract talented and diverse students to Williams, and we want to make sure the message we are sending at the point of attracting these students is consistent with what we deliver in support,” Love said.
Changes in financial aid packages when there is little change in family circumstances remains a problem for students.
“I want students who are on financial aid to see this as a welcoming environment. Students need to understand how financial aid works. For example, what will it mean if parental circumstances change? This all needs to be communicated,” Love said.
Currently, strategic planning for both offices is separate.
“The primary job of the [new] dean will be to create a strategic plan that is in line with the educational mission of the College and to work with the directors to put that plan into practice,” Love said.
With information from an external review of admission conducted in 2011, and one of financial aid in 2015, the College has taken steps to unite the two offices. Last January, both offices moved into the renovated Weston Hall. Previously, admission was located in Bascom House and financial aid in Hopkins Hall.
Love views the new position as central to the needs of the College. “Along with teaching, bringing students to campus and making sure they are supported is arguably the most important thing we do,” Love said. “This is really at the heart of the College’s operations.”
In addition to strategic planning, the new dean will coordinate communication and outreach.
“Some of the public-facing responsibilities of the director of admission will be taken over by the new dean,” Love said. “It will be the job of the dean to determine the best use of both offices.”
Under the tenures of President Morton Shapiro and President Adam Falk, full-time positions at the College have greatly increased. That said, the growth of faculty has been 10 percent higher than staff since 2002.
“If we are doing our jobs right, each decision we make about new administrative positions should, on its own merits, meet the educational objectives of the College,” Love said.
Love does not believe the provost, who is already tasked with resource allocation and overseeing eight operations on campus, including admission and financial aid, should oversee coordination between the two offices. “I don’t have any expertise in admission, and I have no expertise in financial aid. They are training me.”
The word dean is used by 17 out of 20 peer institutions with similar positions. A majority of peer institutions already have a comparable position.
Because the job is not a vice-president position, there will be no growth in the senior staff reporting to and advising the president. Currently, senior staff includes the dean of the college, the dean of the faculty, the provost, vice president for student life, the vice president for institutional diversity and equity, the vice president for college relations, the vice president for finance and administration and treasurer, the chief communications officer and the chief investment officers.
In addition, faculty governance will remain intact because the new dean will report to the provost, a member of the faculty. “It’s really important that admission and financial aid operate through the faculty, which have the most direct contact with students.”
The college has begun the search process and expects that the new dean will start on July 1.