Following the passing away of Scripps College Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Bekki Lee on Oct. 11, Scripps has appointed French professor Nathalie Rachlin as Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Associate Dean of Students, and Samuel Haynes as Acting Dean of Students.
A faculty member for 23 years, Rachlin has served as Director of the Humanities Institute and as a member of the Faculty Executive Committee and the Committee on Academic Review.
Rachlin was on a yearlong sabbatical when the administration approached her.
“Part of my attraction for this position is that they did not have to replace my courses, because I was on sabbatical,” she said.
Originally one of two associate deans in the Office of Campus Life last summer, Haynes took on a significant amount of extra responsibility after the other dean departed July 1.
“It was almost a natural progression to ask me because of my being next in line,” Haynes said.
Haynes said he has supervised multiple departments in Student Affairs and advised many student groups, including the Scripps College Student Store and The Voice. Haynes will continue to provide counseling and advice to students while Rachlin handles more administrative duties.
“In appointing professor Rachlin as interim VP for Student Affairs, I was able to take the load of the administrative activities that cross the consortium (Student Deans Council), engagement with college policy work on the senior team, enterprise risk management, and responsibility for interfacing with the Board of Trustees off of Dean Haynes, allowing him to take on the daily management of student affairs at the college during this period of time,” Scripps President Lori Bettison-Varga wrote in an e-mail to TSL.
“The beauty of my role is that I still have time to work directly with student organizations,” Haynes said. “Splitting up Bekki’s position makes it so that I still have time to work with students as well as administrators in the office.”
Rachlin said she is learning about the various projects that Lee had in progress, as well as her day-to-day functions in the office.
“My job is to finish what Bekki had underway,” she said. “I am here to ensure community stability while they search for another vice president, and as a faculty member who knows the college and its students, I will be able to ensure this continuity.”
While administrators feel positive overall about prospects in the office, Bettison-Varga expressed some concerns about the sudden transition.
“An immediate challenge is that our WASC [Western Association of Schools and Colleges] reaccreditation visit had long been scheduled for this week, and the team will be here today (Wednesday) through Friday,” she wrote. “Dean Lee’s leadership of and vision for student affairs has been critical to the development of goals for student affairs and for assessment of our programs and departments.”
“However, we expect our assessment committee and student affairs staff will manage the visit well,” she said.
Rachlin said she does not intend to pursue a permanent position in the administration, and will return to her sabbatical once her contract expires June 30, 2014. The search committee must find a replacement by then, she said.
As Acting Dean of Students, Haynes does not have a finite amount of time in his contract.
“I’m willing to stay in the position of Acting Dean of Students as long as Scripps needs me, and I wouldn’t be opposed to taking this position permanently,” he said. “I enjoy my work at Scripps.”
Other restructuring of office administrators may occur throughout the year, but all changes will be final at the end of spring semester.