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Harvard, Duke Official New Dean Of Student Life



By Christopher L. Falling
Associate News Editor

Margaret R. Bates, an academic and financial planning officer at Harvard University and a former vice provost of Duke University, was named to the new position of dean for student life on Tuesday.

The appointment comes one year after former Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student AffairsArthur C. Smith announced his intention to step down.

Current Dean for UESA Rosalind H. Williams, who appointed Bates, was named in June to that position but will change titles to become dean for undergraduate education when Bates takes office on Dec. 1.

Until that time, Bates will take time to meet the staff of the Dean's Office and prepare for the job.

Bates said she had no knowledge concerning the amount of student contact the job would allow versus the amount of administrative work, but she said she was looking forward to the opportunity to work with students, faculty members, and administrators.

Perspective of Teamwork

Williams said she was "looking for a very savvy administrator who understood organization across preexisting [organizational] boundaries."

Williams was looking for a candidate with a very strong background in senior academic administration and finance, strengths that would help in the ongoing re-engineering of student services, she said.

Williams was "hired to provide leadership on academic issues. It would be impossible for me to do this unless I had someone I could count on" in the dean of student life position, she said.

Both Williams and Bates expressed the importance of building a team that would govern the Dean's Office. The new position is not just "filling a hole," Bates said but a way of expanding the capability of the Dean's Office.

Bates' outsider status is not a liability, Williams said. "Bates understands that each university has a distinct culture."

While not "having the level of detailed knowledge of the way things work here, my knowledge [of MIT] makes me want to learn more," Bates said.

Bates said her knowledge of the Institute could be described as having MIT in her "peripheral vision for most of my life," and is looking forward to "joining the community that I admire." She has worked with MIT administrators in the past, and her husband received a doctorate degree from the Institute.

Selection process representative

The same dean search committee that recommended Williams last spring also recommended a list of candidates for dean of student life.

Aided by the committee's recommendation, Williams worked with Provost Joel Moses PhD '67 and President Charles M. Vest to select the new dean.

With five students on the original search committee, the selection process had "strong student representation," Williams said.

"I felt that students' input was significant during the committee deliberations," Williams said. Hence it was not necessary to include student representatives during the final discussions to select the new dean this fall, she said.

Positions at Claremont, Duke

Bates' previous affiliation with the Institute includes serving on an inter-university committee with the late Vice President Constantine B. Simonides '57, who died in the spring of 1994.

In addition, her husband, Robert H. Bates Ph.D '69, earned a doctorate degree in the Department of Political Science.

Bates earned her bachelor's degree from Duke in 1963 and a doctorate in political science from Harvard in 1971. She then worked as a senior research fellow and research consultant at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Bates has served in a variety of positions, including associate dean of students, dean of freshman, and vice president for administration and planning, at the Claremont Colleges in California.

In 1985, Bates moved to Duke, where she served as vice provost for academic programs and facilities. In 1993, she took her current position at Harvard, where her husband also works.