Wellesley continues to seeks permanent dean of religious and spiritual life
The College welcomed a number of new hires over the summer. Carol Bate was appointed associate dean of Students, Jon Alvarez is now director of the new Office of Design and Construction within Facilities Management and Planning, and Jeff Dubois was hired as the assistant vice president for budget, financial planning, and campus services. Both Dubois and Alvarez’s positions were newly created. Notably, the positions of dean of religious and spiritual life and protestant chaplain remain unfilled. The College appointed Annabel Beerel as interim dean of religious and spiritual life and Sarah Robbins-Cole as the interim protestant chaplain for the fall semester.
The associate dean of students position remained vacant since Michelle Lepore left in October 2013. This summer, the Division of Student Life conducted a nationwide search for her replacement and ultimately hired Carol Bate. Because the position has been open for 10 months, Bate’s position is a slightly altered version of Lepore’s.
Bate’s previous position before coming to Wellesley was associate dean of student life and director of career services at St. Lawrence University, where she worked for 13 years. Bate’s focus at Wellesley will be on student leadership; at St. Lawrence University, she taught leadership classes. She enjoyed working at St. Lawrence University, but the job at Wellesley provided her a unique opportunity she couldn’t pass up. She first heard about the job in an email from her previous boss.
“I said, ‘Wow, what a great opportunity.’ I’ve always had a real appreciation for women’s education. I went to an all-women’s high school, and I know that that experience was very significant for me in terms of who I am today,” Dean Bate said.
Bate claims the summer meetings she had with the administrators were a key reason she decided to take the job at Wellesley.
“Almost [all the administrators] had been here forever and that says something about an administration,” she said.
Dean of Students Debra DeMeis announced that Bate accepted the offer in June and began working in August. Bate knows she will work on leadership in addition to directing the evaluation and assessment of the Division of Student Life. Except, she wants to know the Wellesley community better first.
“I want to get to know the community really well before I have big plans. And I would say that’s generally how I like to do things because I think every campus is unique,” Bate said. “You really need to understand a place before you want to create new things.”
As for the role of the dean of religious and spiritual life, the College made offers to potential candidates.
“I had hoped to be announcing the appointment of a new Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life,” DeMeis stated in a College announcement. “Despite the hard work of the search committee, the candidates who were offered the position did not accept our offer.”
The College has reopened the search for a permanent dean of religious and spiritual life this fall. Until then, the College has appointed Annabel Beerel, the co-founder and CEO of the New England Women’s Leadership Institute. Beerel took the job at Wellesley because of how hard it is to find employment in multifaith positions.
“There are not that many opportunities to do multifaith work but having that opportunity, and an opportunity to work at a prestigious school like Wellesley, was something one couldn’t possibly pass by,” Beerel stated.
With regard to her interim position, Beerel hopes to make the best of the fall semester by stabilizing the department.
“I know that this is a transition period for the office, so I would like to stabilize that situation and then get us working together as a team…so we can really serve the Wellesley community the best we can,” Beerel said.
Under the same division, Robbins-Cole holds the position of interim protestant chaplain. Catholic Chaplain Nancy Corcoran and Joanne Murray, the director of the Albright Institute and executive director of the Center for Work and Service, will also be taking on interim responsibilities in the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life this semester.
Pete Zuraw, director of facilities management and planning, sent out a College announcement in July to name Alvarez as the newly hired director of the Office of Design and Construction within Facilities Management and Planning. Alvarez’s main responsibility in his new role is to oversee Campus Renewal, formerly known as Wellesley 2025. The position was created in the fall of 2013 to fill a need created by the Campus Renewal project. Alvarez has been working at Wellesley for two and a half years as the director of the Capital Program Office and as an employee of Aramark, an outside facilities management company.
Also over the summer, Ben Hammond, the vice president for finance and administration, announced that Jeff Dubois had been hired as Wellesley’s assistant vice president for budget, financial planning, and campus services. This position is a “re-configured” position according to Hammond. Many positions in the Finance and Administration division have been re-configured by Hammond after he joined the college in July 2013. Dubois will be responsible for the operating and capital budgets as well as overseeing the bookstore, Campus Center, College Club, dining services, faculty housing, mail services and transportation. Dubois officially began his work at Wellesley in July.
In addition to hiring Dubois, Hammond has promoted Melissa Fletcher, the controller and interim assistant vice president to the new, permanent and “re-organized” role of assistant vice president for finance and controller. Fletcher has worked as the controller since 2011 and as the interim assistant vice president for finance for the last year and a half.