Letter to the editor: Update from the Dean’s Office

Over the last three months, two beloved colleagues from the dean’s office staff, Rashanda Booker and Rosanna Ferro, have left the College to pursue personal and professional opportunities. We in the dean’s office miss them both dearly, as do many people on campus. Knowing that there is some anxiety about the process for hiring their successors, we wanted to share some of our plans for the searches.

No one else can ever replace Rashanda or Rosanna, but we want to make sure students have advisors, mentors and role models who are as capable and as deeply devoted to students’ success.

With that in mind, and in response to questions and concerns from campus, here is some information about the search process:

Both positions are now posted on the College’s website and are being widely circulated to professional associations and publications, with a special focus on reaching people from groups that are underrepresented in higher education, or whose backgrounds resemble in some way the backgrounds of the students served by these roles. Both advertisements speak directly to the need for diversity and inclusion. Underlying this is our commitment in the dean’s office to serving underrepresented students as an essential component of our mission to support all students.

We have convened two parallel committees to lead the searches. Each includes staff, faculty and student representatives. The student representatives are Brian Benitez ’18 and Theo Kwapong ’20. Student participation is critical to a successful hire. Beyond the students serving on these committees, other student leaders on campus will be encouraged to reach out to the student body as a whole, to gather questions and thoughts on what qualities the College should be looking for in our candidates. All community feedback (from students, staff and faculty) will be passed on to the search committee for review and considered when each committee makes a recommendation to Marlene Sandstrom, dean of the College. We will also invite student input during the on-campus interviews, when student representatives have the opportunity to meet with the finalists and provide feedback to the search committees.

The loss of Rashanda and Rosanna is a loss for all of us. While each had her own reasons for her move, we realize the pain the two departures cause to many students who relied on them, and the gap this leaves in our office. We’re working hard to recruit the very best people to take up those roles, and

welcome everyone’s help in thinking about our needs and identifying the very best candidates for the job. Please send any suggestions to me at rvb1@williams.edu.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Senior Associate Dean Rachel Bukanc