September 12, 2016
Michelle Adams O'Regan
Communications and Marketing
Effective with the start of the new school year, Saint Anselm College has instituted a new structure of deans to serve the student community. For the first time, each class year is assigned an individual dean. The change is being made to better meet the needs of the respective class years, according to Dr. Christine Gustafson, associate dean of the College.
"As deans' responsibilities changed in addition to working with the classes, it became apparent that it would benefit students to assign one dean to one class." Previously, a dean might be responsible for more than one class of students, according to Gustafson, and she notes the college had only two deans at one time, each responsible for two classes.
The first dean solely responsible for first-year students is Dr. Lara Birk, assistant dean for Freshmen. New to Saint Anselm College this year, Birk is also the Director of Academic Advisement and is currently teaching in the Sociology department.
Exclusively for Sophomores, Dr. Ann Harrington is the assistant dean as well as responsible for Student Support Services. Also, Harrington is teaching in the Conversatio program during this fall semester.
In addition to her roles as Associate Dean of the College and Dean of Juniors, Gustafson is a faculty member in the Department of Politics as Associate Professor. She is also teaching in the Honors program this semester.
Dr. Mark Cronin, Dean of Saint Anselm College, is the Dean of Seniors. During this fall semester, he also teaches in the Conversatio Program.
In addition to the structural change, some of the previous deans have rotated the classes for which they were responsible, rising with the students who achieved their next class level. Last year, Dean Cronin was in charge of Senior and Juniors; the Seniors with whom he now works were Juniors last year. Dean Harrington was responsible for Freshmen who now form the Sophomore class. Dean Gustafson previously worked with Sophomores who are now Juniors.
Deans at the college monitor and support progress towards degree completion and academic good standing. Deans also address issues related to each class they manage, for example, Dean Cronin for the Senior class manages graduation clearance and commencement awards. Similarly, Dean Birk for the Freshmen class assists the college's newest students with their transition to the community.