Message to the Faculty and Staff — February 25, 2020
To my staff colleagues,
I am writing to announce changes to the senior staff of the College.
In her time as senior vice president and dean for academic affairs, Liz has been a strong advocate for the faculty and has helped to further the intellectual and curricular life of the College. She worked with faculty, staff, students, the senior staff, and the board of trustees on a variety of critical issues, and has been a great partner for me. Liz, who is a professor in the physics department, will be on sabbatical for the 2020–2021 academic year, after which she plans to teach and resume her scholarship here. We will have a more formal opportunity before the end of the semester to recognize Liz’s many contributions to the College. In the meantime, please join me in thanking her for her great service to Bowdoin.
Following consultation with the faculty who comprise the Committee on Governance and Faculty Affairs (GFA), the Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure (CAPT), the Curriculum Implementation Committee (CIC), and the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee (CEP), the associate deans for academic affairs, and the 2016 search committee for the dean for academic affairs, I am appointing Jennifer Scanlon, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of the Humanities in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, as the next senior vice president and dean for academic affairs. In the past, the president has appointed an interim dean while conducting a national search for a new dean. I am not doing so in this case because of Jen’s outstanding skills and experience and the significant value to our work of having our next dean come from within the faculty. There is broad and enthusiastic support for Jen as our dean among the faculty I consulted. They acknowledged that the process undertaken was atypical, but appropriate under these circumstances, and that it provides a pathway to ensuring continued progress on several critical issues and projects at the College.
Jen will become senior vice president and dean for academic affairs on July 1, 2020. Her initial term will run for five years. Jen, who joined the faculty in 2002, is an accomplished historian and gender studies scholar and a celebrated teacher. In addition to serving as the interim dean for academic affairs between 2015 and 2017, she has served as program director and as associate dean for academic affairs, and her performance in all of these roles was exemplary. She was a strong finalist in the 2016 search for a permanent dean. Since concluding her term as interim dean in 2017, she spent a year on sabbatical as an ACE Fellow—a coveted and highly competitive position designed to develop academic leaders—during which time she worked closely with the president, staff, and faculty at Wellesley College. Her projects there centered primarily on exploring issues of shared governance, faculty development, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is thoughtful, listens well, speaks her mind while respecting the views of others, understands the College and is committed to its success, is a skilled administrator, and is widely admired and respected by faculty, staff, students, and trustees. We forged a strong working relationship during her time as interim dean and, in my view, there is no one more qualified to take on the leadership of academic affairs at Bowdoin than Jen.
As I noted above, I have made this decision following consultation with thirty-one members of faculty committees and administrative offices who serve the College. These are the same groups that represented the faculty in the finalist interviews during the prior search. I am very grateful to our colleagues for their thoughtful insights and wise counsel.
Please join me in thanking Liz for her service and in congratulating Jen on her new role.
All the best,