Professor Marlene Sandstrom will be the new Dean of the College, replacing Sarah Bolton on July 1. Falk’s entire e-mail is below the break. See here for Record coverage and here for the Berkshire Eagle.

1) Note Sandstrom’s 2010 New York Times opinion piece on cyberbullying. She isn’t explicitly anti-free speech, but, if I were a Williams student with controversial opinions, opinions likely to cause other students to complain, I would be worried.

2) I think that Sandstrom is the first Dean (first senior administrator?) to be married to another member of the faculty, in her case Professor Noah Sandstrom. Not sure what bearing, in any, that fact has on her appointment or will have on her performance.

3) How did Sandstrom get the job? Good question! Informed gossip is always welcome. My guess is that Falk has been a Sandstrom fan for awhile. He awarded her (and her husband) the directorship of Williams-Exeter two years ago, a position for which there is a fair amount of competition among the faculty.

4) Is it weird for me to wonder if the Sandstroms have any children? My prejudice would be that a Dean with children is more likely to be sympathetic to students and their problems, but perhaps that is unfair to the childless.

5) I am pleased to see that Sandstrom served on the Honor Committee, as every faculty member interested in being Dean of the College should.

To the Williams Community,

I’m delighted to report that, after consultation with the Faculty Steering Committee, I have asked Marlene Sandstrom, Hales Professor of Psychology and last year’s director of the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford (WEPO), to serve as dean of the college, and she has accepted.

She’ll begin her role as dean July 1, succeeding Sarah Bolton, whose term ends as she assumes the presidency of The College of Wooster.

Marlene brings to the dean’s office deeply relevant experience serving the college and its students in academic and administrative capacities. In her leadership of WEPO (she’s still there now, sharing the two-year directorship with her husband and psychology colleague Noah Sandstrom), she was the primary academic and personal advisor to the 26 juniors in the program, holding the title of tutor for visiting students at Exeter College and living with her family in the director’s residence, adjacent to the Ephraim Williams House where the students live.

Since coming to Williams as an assistant professor in 1999, Marlene has served on and chaired several committees, including the Honor Committee, the Committee on Academic Standing, the Committee on Undergraduate Life, and the Institutional Review Board.

Marlene’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and focuses on issues concerning relationships among children, including adjustment, coping, aggression, bullying, and bystander behavior in the school context.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University and did her graduate work at Duke, serving as an instructor and an assistant clinical professor there until she came to Williams. She was named associate professor at Williams in 2004, a full professor in 2010.

Please join me in congratulating Marlene and thanking her for taking on this extraordinarily important role. Thanks also to the Steering Committee for its thoughtful counsel, and of course to Sarah Bolton, for her exceptional work on which Marlene will now build.


Adam Falk


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