Search for dean marches on
Acting Dean of Students Linda Gates met with students in an open forum as part of the search for a permanent dean of students. Gates has applied for the position.
The few students who attended and some members of the search committee appointed by the president discussed various issues with the candidate, including her experience as acting dean during the past year.
“I am actually surprised to be applying for this job because when President [Nancy] Dye asked me to do this last year I said, ‘Please, please don’t make me do this’ because I knew it is a hard job,” she stated.
Yet she said she later found herself enjoying working with students as a dean of students.
“Students come to Oberlin for only four years and every day has to be the best day,” she said.
Gates began her career in education as a French teacher. When she first came to Oberlin in 1990 she started as a coordinator and supervisor of a Winter Term practicum about teaching English as a second language. Later she became a dean of student academic services, a position she held from 1997 to 2004.
She also worked with former Dean of Students Peter Goldsmith when he first came to campus and decided to implement the class dean system with which he had had experience at Dartmouth College. Despite initial discomfort with time management, the new system proved to be very successful, according to Gates.
“Why did I like it? Because it worked,” she said.
Some of the issues that students raised at the forum were current concerns regarding the changes in Residential Life and Dining Services, now Residential Education and Dining Services.
“Students need to feel at home, to be comfortable, to feel safe, but also to continue learning outside and around the classroom,” Gates said of the alterations to this department.
The search committee is bringing another candidate to visit campus next week.
The purpose of the committee is to advise the President in the process of
appointing a new dean.