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Klawunn named interim dean of College

The VP for campus life and student services will fill the post until a new dean is named

Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn will serve as interim dean of the College effective Jan. 1, when current dean Katherine Bergeron will step down to become president of Connecticut College, Provost Mark Schlissel P’15 said at Tuesday’s faculty meeting.

“I am thrilled that Margaret will step in and provide the needed continuity (to the position),” Bergeron told The Herald.

“We work very closely together,” Bergeron said, adding that the employees in both of their offices collaborate and will ease the transition when a full-time dean of the College steps in.

“I am very pleased and honored to take this on,” Klawunn told The Herald.

Schlissel also announced the students and faculty members who will serve on the dean of the College search committee, which he will chair. In a campus-wide email he sent Tuesday, Schlissel wrote that he expects a new full-time dean to be named by July.

Faculty members who will staff the committee include Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences Sheila Blumstein, Professor of Economics Andrew Foster, Associate Professor of Computer Science Chad Jenkins, Professor of Neuroscience Diane Lipscombe P’15, Associate Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature Zachary Sng, Senior Lecturer in English Elizabeth Taylor, Senior Director for Planning and Projects MaryLou McMillan ’85 and Associate Dean of the College Maitrayee Bhattacharyya ’91. Liza Cariaga-Lo, associate provost for academic development and diversity, will also staff the committee.

The undergraduate students who will serve on the committee are Amelia Armitage ’15, Abi Kulshreshtha ’15 and Emma Dickson ’16.

Klawunn, who has previously taught English and gender studies at Brown, was named to her current position in 2008. Previously, she worked as associate vice president for campus life, associate dean of the College and director of the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center.

Under Klawunn, the Office of Campus Life has spearheaded projects such as renovating undergraduate dorms and developing class-based housing communities. Klawunn has also been a prominent figure in plans to renovate the Sharpe Refectory — a priority President Christina Paxson affirmed in the recent draft of her strategic plan.

Those renovations have come under criticism from some undergraduates and groups such as Brown for Financial Aid, who have argued they divert resources that should be concentrated on student aid.

Klawunn worked with the 2011 Athletics Review Committee, which, under former President Ruth Simmons, recommended cutting four varsity teams and increasing the University’s athletics budget. The teams ultimately were not cut, and funding increases and facility renovations for athletics have continued.

“(The dean of the College) is a role I feel is critical to supporting the uniqueness of Brown’s curriculum,” she said, adding, “it is a wonderful opportunity to work with a great team of individuals.”

Schlissel and Paxson worked together to appoint Klawunn to the position after “a great deal of deliberation,” Schlissel said.

Klawunn’s appointment will keep the disciplinary breakdown of senior administrators relatively consistent. A humanities scholar, she will replace Bergeron, currently a professor of music. Klawunn will join Kevin McLaughlin P’12, dean of the faculty and former chair of the English department at Brown, Schlissel, former dean of biological sciences at the University of California at Berkeley, and Paxson,  who is trained as an economist.

“I am confident (Klawunn) will carry forward the work of the College with the same combination of intelligence, enthusiasm, sensitivity and commitment she has displayed in her five years as Vice President,” Schlissel wrote in the campus-wide email.


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