Yale college

School Notes: Yale College
November/December 2012

Two new college deans greet students

This year two new Yale residential college deans have enrolled in “Deans School,” the affectionate nickname for an extensive formal training program for deans in their first year of service. The program was created in 1988 by Joseph W. Gordon, dean of undergraduate education, and is currently led by Mark Schenker, dean of academic affairs. Classes began in August before the students arrived. Mornings were devoted to academic regulations, then a thorough examination of “Blue Book 101,” followed by afternoon field trips to meet key constituents across campus, from the college’s writing tutor and dining hall director to the registrar and the head of health services. In-service training continues with weekly sessions throughout the academic year.

Stepping into new roles as residential college deans are Christine Muller at Saybrook College and Joseph Spooner ’91 at Jonathan Edwards College. Muller earned a BA in history and psychology and an MA in English from Villanova University, and a PhD in American studies from the University of Maryland–College Park. For more than ten years she has held residential positions, first with the Office of Residence Life at Villanova and then as house director of a sorority at Maryland. She served for five years as the assistant director of Villanova’s Honors Program, filling the role of academic adviser for 450 exceptional students from all of the university’s colleges. Dean Muller says she loves good stories and good storytellers, and Saybrugians may benefit from her other passion: taking informal cooking lessons from her father, a retired chef and culinary school dean.

Twenty-one years after earning a bachelor of arts degree in English from Yale College, Dean Spooner happily returns to New Haven. JE master Penelope Laurans said Dean Mary Miller and the search committee chose Spooner not only for his extensive teaching and administrative experience, but also for his enthusiasm and ability to connect with students. Since earning his master’s in American studies at Florida State, he has held teaching and administrative positions at Chipola College, Florida State, Williams College, and the University of Edinburgh. A first-generation college student from a small family farm in northern Florida, he says he has not forgotten how overwhelming and foreign Yale can be, and hopes that his varied experiences in higher education will benefit all of those fortunate enough to call Yale home.


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