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Institute Appoints Interim Dean

Kolenbrander Will Serve as Temporary Dean for Student Life

By Mike Hall


Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow ’72 appointed Kirk D. Kolenbrander as interim Dean for Student Life on Wednesday. Kolenbrander, currenly an associate dean and Bacow’s special assistant for the residence sytem, will replace the departing Margaret R. Bates until a permanent dean is found.

Bacow said that the departure of Bates obligated him to make an interim appointment to the position. “The process ... has taken a bit longer than anticipated,” Bacow said. The final decision date is still undetermined, he said.

Undergraduate Association President Peter A. Shulman ’01 said that the search committee had already presented its recommendation to Bacow and President Charles M. Vest. Shulman found out about the interim appointment from a Wednesday Tech Talk article.

Kolenbrander arrived at MIT in 1990 as a professor in materials science and engineering. He won the Baker Award in 1995 for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Kolenbrander joined the Dean’s Office in 1998, serving as process manager for the Residence System Design Committee and coordinator of LeaderShape, a leadership training program held during Independent Activities Period.

In addition to his current duties, Kolenbrander’s duties as interim Dean for Student Life will be “overseeing the various offices that report to the Dean of Student Life ... [and taking care of] individual situations involving students,” he said.

Shulman praised Kolenbrander as “a capable manager and of outstanding character to boot,” but added that he expected the new dean to come from outside MIT.

Dean candidates experienced

The finalists for the permanent position all have experience in dealing with student life concerns at their respective universities.

Larry G. Benedict, a student affairs dean at Johns Hopkins University, has focused his efforts on addressing campus violence and diversity. Benedict has received the strongest backing from student leaders, according to one student involved in the search process.

Also in the running is Larry Roper, current vice provost for student affairs at Oregon State University. Roper is active in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and focuses on leadership initiatives and discussions on barriers to community building.

Marlyn Lewis, Harvard University director of admissions, is also a candidate for the position. Under Lewis, applications to Harvard have reached all-time highs.

Satwiksai Seshasai and Naveen Sunkavally contributed to the reporting of this story.