Colgate Announces Four Dean of the College Finalists


 The search committee for the Vice President and Dean of the Col­lege, chaired by Professor of Psychol­ogy Carrie Keating, has been work­ing since August to develop a slate of candidates. Currently, the four final­ists for the position are conducting their official campus visits.

“The on-campus interview for each of the four candidates is a two-day process, during which several forums are held. The student forums are being held at 7:30 at night and announced through campus-wide distribution e-mails,” Keating said.

According to Keating, the com­mittee has been anticipating this phase of the search process in particular.

“One of the reasons we are so ex­cited is that we have a wealth of data on the challenges ahead to make sure that Colgate is always a welcoming place for all students,” Keating said. “Of course, that is not a job that a single individual can do, it is the re­sponsibility of the entire campus. That said, we know that we will need strong leadership in the Student Af­fairs arena in order to accomplish this task. But the point is that we have the data, and the committee senses that the Colgate community is ready to move forward in significant ways.”

The four finalists were actually sent summary findings of the Cam­pus Climate Life Survey and the Af­ricana, Latin American, Asian Ameri­can, and Native American (ALANA) Affairs final report, as well as copies of The Maroon-News, in preparation for their on-campus interviews.

The search committee has already put in a lot of work in order to reach the current short list of four candidates.

“The committee is made up of 13 people in­cluding four individuals from the Dean of the College division, four faculty members, four students and an emeritus trustee who has been engaged with student affairs in the past,” Keat­ing said. “We began by holding focus groups all over campus to find out what people wanted in the Dean of the College. This meant that…we all had to sit in a room and listen to each other, and hopefully to speak honestly with each other. The hope was that this would inform our committee about what Colgate wanted in the next Dean of the Students, and perhaps uncover seedlings of consensus. After all, we’re all on one team.”

Now that a decision has been made on the final four candidates, the committee is hoping for a response from the community. Although all four are exceptionally qualified, they would each bring a unique set of experiences to the position. A bio of each of the candidates follows.

Suzy M. Nelson is currently Dean of Student Life at Harvard University. She was also a Dean at Cornell University and Syracuse University. She has student affairs experience that spans 20 years. She has a Ph.D in Higher Education Administra­tion from Syracuse, and is experienced in working with a variety of student organizations. She led a review of a range of residential systems, from the Finals Clubs at Harvard to a very large Greek Life Organization at Cornell. She has also had multiple experiences managing the reorganization of de­partments in the face of financial difficulties. She has also led an initiative to assess and improve the inclusiveness of the campus climate at Harvard.

Steven P. O’Day is currently the Senior Associate Dean of the College at Franklin & Marshall College. Through his experience at this small Liberal Arts school somewhat like Colgate, O’Day has become familiar with the particular multidisciplinary goals of the liberal arts. He is additionally an attorney by training, and worked as an adjunct professor of business law, a member of the President’s senior staff and the head women’s soccer coach. He has experience running and implementing the results of a task force for the reduction of “high risk” drinking.

Rajesh N. Bellani has experience here at Colgate in a variety of positions. He knows Colgate well; he served under former president Rebecca Chopp. In 2009, he left Colgate to accept the position of Associate Provost and Dean of Students at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). This role offered him experience in integrating the school’s academic and non-academic support centers. At RISD, he led a strategic planning group to increase the inclusive­ness of the campus, and took on an assignment to develop international recruitment strategies.

Scott C. Brown has risen in the ranks of the Dean of the College division at Colgate, and currently holds the position of Interim Vice President and Dean of the College. He has been the Associate Vice President and Dean of Stu­dents here at Colgate since 2008. He chairs or co-chairs seven committees at Colgate, ranging from emergency management to alcohol and drug prevention to prejudice reduction. He has been especially involved in long-term planning initiatives, and is also a well-published scholar. In the past half-year in his interim position, he has implemented over seven strategic changes to the student affairs division.

Contact Rebekah Ward at [email protected].