Updated September 18, 2018 at 2:40 p.m.
Only three students attended a listening session hosted by Barnard to solicit student input for hiring a new dean of the college.
All three attendees were current or former members of Student Government Association, and said that they had anticipated that more students would attend the event. The listening session, which was announced to students on Thursday and held Monday afternoon, was hosted by members of the search firm Isaacson Miller.
Each student said that they had worked with former Dean Avis Hinkson—who left the college to take a position at Pomona College in August—in connection with their roles on SGA and reflected on her tenure at the college during the session.
While at Barnard, Hinkson worked to improve the college’s Title IX programming and developed a program to assist undocumented students and DACA recipients. Following her departure from the college, Dean of Studies Natalie Friedman and Executive Director for Residential Life and Housing Alicia Lawrence have jointly taken over the responsibilities of the dean of the college.Aashna Singh, BC ’19, the former junior class president and Representative for Seven Sisters, said that she hopes that the new dean is approachable so that students are encouraged to reach out to the college’s administration.
“The dean of the college has to be for the students,” she said. “The president does work with a lot of the board, sometimes students, but the dean of the college is for the students, and I think that needs to be more obvious.”
Alicia Simba, BC ’19, a member of the search committee, pointed to the strong working relationship between Hinkson and former Associate Dean of Student Life Alina Wong, and said that whomever the college hires will need to maintain a positive relationship with Emy Cardoza, who was recently promoted to fill Wong’s position.
Singh reiterated this, noting that the associate dean of student life governs all of the college’s student activities, including Barnard BLUE and the New Student Orientation Program. She also pointed out that Hinkson was “so good at balancing administration and students.”
Simba praised Hinkson’s availability to students, noting that she was a frequent feature at campus events.
“She took the time, she would meet with literally any student who walked into her office,” Simba said.