College Dean Marlene Sandstrom and Provost Dukes Love will be stepping down from their administrative roles and joining the faculty in June 2022, President Maud S. Mandel announced in a campus-wide email on September 22. Sandstrom will return to teaching as Hales Professor of Psychology, while Love will join the faculty as Professor of Economics in the Class of 1969.
Sandstrom and Love were both appointed to their posts in 2016 and are serving the second of their two three-year terms. “Dukes and I started together six years ago, so we went in together and will be dating,” Sandstrom said. Their successors will be chosen from faculty later in the year through the standard appointment process managed by the faculty’s steering committee, Mandel wrote.
Prior to her appointment as Dean of the College, Sandstrom also served as Co-Director of the Williams-Exeter Program at Oxford (WEPO) for two years, which she said influenced the perspective she brought to her role as Dean.
“It was really during this time that I realized how much I liked to think about ‘the student as a whole,’ she said. “When you’re at WEPO leading this program, you’re kind of the dean and the provost, and you fill many different roles at the same time for this very small microcosm of campus. “
Leading WEPO has prompted Sandstrom to think beyond the academics of the College, a mindset she sees as crucial to her tenure as Dean. “I think what happens outside of the classroom is so central to all the good things that happen during the college years, so I was very excited to think about how we could better integrate all the different supports that we offer, ”she said. . “We pay attention not only to student success in school, but also to all of the other elements of what it means to be human between the ages of 18 and 22. “
Although she looks forward to teaching again after eight years out of the classroom, Sandstrom said her administrative role has allowed her to exchange ideas and interact with students in a way she could not do as a teacher.
“One of the things that I will miss the most is this particular form of interaction with students,” said Sandstrom. “I think faculty members, when they teach well, learn as much from their students as students learn from them, but it takes on a different flavor in an administrative role. I see how the students mark the institution with the very good ideas they have.
The pandemic has made Sandstrom’s time in administration a much more difficult experience than she had anticipated. From sending students home after the initial outbreak of March 2020 to enforcing COVID-19 policies in the 2020-2021 school year, Sandstrom and the rest of the administration have faced a myriad of decisions. unprecedented to take, some more controversial than others.
In particular, the administration’s handling of the big party at Wood House last spring sparked a great deal of controversy. For one thing, many students who attended denounced the College’s policy of sending all party participants home. On the other hand, some disgruntled students at the party urged the administration to voice a stronger condemnation of the revelers.
“The Wood incident was onerous for everyone involved,” Sandstrom said. “One of the hardest parts of being a dean or a leader is making decisions at these times. Maud and all of us senior staff have always tried to ask what would be the best thing for Williams. as a community, while continuing to provide care and support to those who might disagree.
Sandstrom stressed that the administration had the privilege of being able to work closely with people who are experts in public health during the pandemic. “I never imagined I would spend as much time as I have thinking and responding to public health,” she said. “And it took time and energy for things I prefer to think about that have to do with holistic student support… but even if I wouldn’t have predicted it, I wouldn’t give up the experience. I think we’ve learned a lot about ourselves as problem solvers.
Sandstrom identified the summer 2020 process of figuring out how to bring back students in person as the biggest challenge of its tenure. “There were times when it was not clear if we were going to be successful,” she said, highlighting the difficulties in ensuring the safety of teachers and students, in giving classes in person and in maintaining the students. restaurants and facilities. operations at the same time.
Love expressed a similar sentiment about serving in senior management during the pandemic. “It was as if the academy groves were on fire and we all had to learn the basics of firefighting,” he wrote in an email to Save.
As Provost, Love’s responsibilities were primarily related to managing the expenses of the College. He was involved in investing in the Williams College Museum of Art, reducing carbon emissions at the college, and restructuring the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, according to Mandel’s email.
According to Love, however, his proudest achievement as a provost was “to hire and support” staff. “I was especially proud of the work we were able to do together in the areas of access and affordability, the arts, sustainability and strategic planning,” he wrote.
Sandstrom and Love still have almost a full academic year to finish. Sandstrom pointed out that she still has many projects she hopes to work on before she leaves administration, including working with the newly established Zone Coordinators and the newly hired Director of Campus Security Services Eric Sullivan, as well as improving theme, affinity, program, and special interest accommodations.
“The announcement comes very early, but I [still] have a lot of time, energy and enthusiasm for the role, ”said Sandstrom. “I’m not in the farewell phase yet… when the time for leaving the role draws near, I think I’m going to feel sad, but I’m not there yet.”