HMC to Choose New Associate Dean of Residential Life

A new associate dean of residential life for Harvey Mudd College will be selected by the end of this week. The college has been searching for someone who understands HMC’s culture and how the students and faculty and staff members work together, according to Dean of Students Maggie Browning. 

Browning said that the associate dean of residential life will work closely with proctors and mentors, provide resources for the student body, support the chair of the Disciplinary Board, and serve as a role model for the general community. She said the committee is searching for someone who is excited by the student culture at HMC, willing to collaborate with students, and driven by the mission of HMC. 

Christian Stevens HM ’14, a proctor and one of four student members on the search committee, said that it is important that the new dean be open-minded and adaptable. 

“No matter which position [the candidates
are] coming from, flexibility is hugely important, for Harvey Mudd specifically,” he said. “We’re a very weird school, and the way we do student affairs is very different
from other colleges.”

Stevens also mentioned leadership
and approachability as important criteria being considered in the search. He said that the student-dominated search process was symbolic of HMC’s ethos.

“I thought [the selection process] was very
thorough, and the extent to which the student voice was taken to account was
impressive,” he said. “I felt the student voice was stronger than any other on the
committee, and … it really felt like we guided the discussion more than anyone
else.”

Katie Shepherd HM ’14, a
member of the search committee, spoke favorably of the process. 

“Being a part of
something that is trying to bring in multiple perspectives of students and
faculty has been really enjoyable,” she said.

The search committee and 10-12 HMC students not on the committee were present at dinners with each candidate, and all students were invited to attend discussion panels after the dinners. According to Browning, 8-30 students attended the discussions with each candidate, where they asked many questions.

“The students were
passionate, really engaging with what
they felt the position would do,”Stevens said. “They asked a lot of hypothetical questions and
really tried to get a feel for how the dean would handle the position.”

“I think the office in
general is growing such that it is made a better place for students,” he added. “There are
areas that we’ve been working on, such as a larger community engagement office,
more prominent wellness office, and so with residential life I think the new
dean would fill the position of working closely with proctors and mentors in a
very approachable way.”

Although Shepherd will not be on
campus to see the work of the new associate dean of residential life, she had advice for
underclassmen and incoming first-years. 

“I would said
just go in and meet the dean,” she said. “It’s the
first thing, even freshman year, to just make that first step to talk to the
people who are helping you succeed at your college. Making those connections is
really helpful for networking in general and to understand your support system.”

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