After a lengthy search this semester, Barnard has chosen Avis Hinkson, BC ’84, as the new dean, replacing Dorothy Denburg who has held the title for 17 years.
Barnard announced the choice of Hinkson, most recently the director of undergraduate advising at the University of California, Berkeley, in an email sent out Tuesday afternoon.
Denburg, who has been juggling two roles this semester, will move on to her new job as vice president for college relations, overseeing the offices of Alumnae Affairs and Career Development, and providing support for Barnard’s pre-college programs.
Hinkson will step in as new dean, beginning February 14, 2011—she will oversee Dean of Studies, Admissions, Financial Aid, the Registrar, Residential Life and Housing, Student Life, and Health Services.
Earlier this month, Barnard had narrowed the search to three finalists, after interviewing eight semi-finalists earlier this semester.
“I am very excited to return to campus. I had a wonderfully positive experience as a student,” Hinkson said in a phone interview from California. “I want to meet with a number of the student leaders and give them the opportunity to share with me their experience with Barnard.”
Hinkson, who graduated from Barnard in 1984 with a degree in psychology, has served as fundraising chair for her class and has maintained connections to the college. Before arriving at Berkeley, she was a work-study student in Barnard’s Admissions Office and dean of admission and enrollment planning at Mills College.
Moving forward, Hinkson said, she is looking forward to working with different entities on campus. “The offices that report to me, I’m really eager to find out where they are, what changes they’d like to see in the future,” she added.
Dean of Studies Karen Blank said in an interview that she was impressed by Hinkson’s credentials. “I do value that she has a doctorate of education,” Blank said. “Clearly, much of her experience is relevant, particularly in admissions and registrarial work.”
Blank also said that, on a personal level, “I find her to be uncommonly nice. She was articulate, she seemed to be calm and poised, she demonstrated a good sense of humor, she asked thoughtful, good questions.”
She added, “I hope and believe that Dean Hinkson and I would work in a mutually respectful and collegial way, as Dean Denburg and I have.”
In a press release, Spar recognized Hinkson’s connection to Barnard. “Avis Hinkson is that unique combination—a Barnard alumna, a native New Yorker, and a proven leader with tremendous spirit and great ideas,” she said.
Hinskon said that she hadn’t originally planned to leave Berkeley, but this was an opportunity she couldn’t ignore.
“I didn’t have plans to necessarily move anywhere. I’m quite pleased with the position I have at Berkeley.”
“This was a dream come true,” she added.