University News

U. names new assistant dean of College

Yolanda Rome replaces Ann Gaylin in leading advising efforts for underclassmen

By
Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Yolanda Rome assumed the role of assistant dean of the College for first-year and sophomore studies last Thursday. She is replacing Ann Gaylin, former associate dean of the College for first-year and sophomore studies, who left Brown Aug. 1 to become associate dean of undergraduate education for academic support at Harvard.

The new position is “a natural progression from what I’ve been doing,” Rome said.

She has worked at Brown for six years, during which time she has consistently been involved with first-year and sophomore studies. “I’ve always been open and amenable to helping out in whatever the office needs,” she said.

At Brown, Gaylin coordinated the First Readings program, first-year and sophomore advising, the Meiklejohn Peer Advising Program, the Curricular Advising Program and pre-law advising, according to the dean of the College website.

Until Rome’s previous position — assistant dean for academic support and transfer — is filled, she will continue in that role as she simultaneously takes on the new responsibilities, said Dean of the College Maud Mandel.

Gaylin’s former responsibilities will also be reconfigured, Mandel added, noting that the First Readings program may become the responsibility of a different member of the dean of the College office.

“I have a tremendous respect for (Gaylin),” Mandel said. “I think she did a great job in that position, and so I was very sorry to hear about her departure when she decided to go, and I think that was universally felt here in the dean of the College office.”

Gaylin spearheaded a “real renewed focus on how to make the first-year advising experience more productive,” Mandel added. “I think she called the University’s attention to (the first-year experience) in a way we hadn’t focused on it before. That is going to survive her absence now.”

Gaylin left shortly after Mandel was named dean of the College, so the two did not have an opportunity to work together, which is one of her “biggest regrets,” Gaylin said.

The position at Harvard was “an opportunity that I just couldn’t afford to pass up. … This was an opportunity for me to think about the issues I care deeply about, but from a different perspective,” Gaylin said. The job is newly created, has no equivalent at Brown and is more of a coordinating position, she said.

She is responsible for making sure “all the academic support services are coordinated and well-aligned” for Harvard undergraduates, Gaylin said. “I’ll be spending a fair bit of my time thinking how we can make a system that’s transparent for students.”

Gaylin’s new position requires her to think “more broadly about our policies, systems and structures” in order to support students, but it involves less face time with students themselves, she said, adding that she will miss the regular contact with Brown students.

Gaylin left Brown several weeks before first-year orientation, in which she played a large role, notably in the First Readings program. As a result, the dean of the College office had to “figure out how we were going to make sure incoming students didn’t notice that we didn’t have a dean in that capacity initially,” Mandel said. Rome stepped in to coordinate orientation, while Deputy Dean of the College Chris Dennis took over the First Readings program.

“I’m going to look forward to hearing about all the great things that are happening at Brown from afar. … I hope to continue to be connected to the Brown community that I care deeply about,” Gaylin said. “I think the advising team that’s in place is a really wonderful one.”

“We wish (Gaylin) the best and we’re sad to see her go,” Mandel said. “We’re really pleased and proud of her and hope she succeeds.”

“I just want to keep satisfaction levels high” when it comes to advising, Rome said. “I really like my job, so I’m just happy that I can help these students.”