Krislov Adjusts to the Hectic Oberlin Life
Since becoming the final candidate in Oberlin’s presidential search last May and entering the office on July 1, Marvin Krislov has attended innumerable meetings and engagements, immersing himself in Oberlin College life, from its ethos to its daily procedures. His crowded schedule was evident by the look of incredulity on his face when asked to take on weekly meetings with the Review. Yet regardless of his time reservations, the new president seems eager to take on the many issues endemic to his office.
“I’m trying to get out, meet students, understand what’s going on,” said Krislov of his efforts these first few weeks. He had his first meeting this year with the General Faculty on Wednesday at noon and later that evening attended Jewish New Year services with students and professors alike.
Krislov has begun his term by establishing a number of objectives for his first year as president, foremost being to recoup from the resignation of Harry Hirsch, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, early last September.
“We’ve started the process for a new search for the dean,” said Krislov. Professor of Mathematics Jeffrey Witmer has been serving as acting dean since Hirsch’s resignation.
Krislov spoke of his long-term economic and strategic plans for Oberlin: “Eventually we’re going to start a capital campaign and do some things to increase Oberlin’s visibility,” he said.
“One of the things that I’m thinking about a lot is ways in which Oberlin faculty and students should get recognition,” he continued. “I want to encourage faculty and students to think about competing for research grants or fellowships or awards.”
To assist this increase, Krislov has asked the staff working with areas dealing with grants, fellowships and awards, namely the Office of Health Professions and Fellowship Advising and the Office of Career Services, to bulk up their existing efforts.
In response to enduring concerns about the College’s financial situation, Krislov described it as “strong and stable,” but warned that “we can’t take it for granted.”
“We want to have strong financial aid so we can have a diverse student body; we want to have a well or at least competitively compensated faculty; we want to have nice facilities,” he said.
Such desires need to be funded in order to be realized. Krislov hopes to do so not only by reaching out to potential sources of income, but also by encouraging students and alumni to give back to their alma mater.
“We’re trying to work to enhance the culture of giving while students are here so that they understand that their tuition doesn’t pay for everything,” he said.
Krislov also emphasized the need for better communication on campus, highlighting the importance of continuing Board of Trustees meetings wherein class trustees hold an open forum for students.
“[These meetings are] a chance for students to get to meet the Board as well as for the Board to meet the students and hear what’s on their minds.”
Referring to the overall state of affairs at the commencement of his administration, Krislov said, “Things are going and the momentum is very good, but there is a lot of work to be done.”
He is not, however, approaching these formidable tasks without a little bit of humor. “There are things we need to work on, of course, or else I wouldn’t have a job.”