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The Scarlet & Black

Anne Harris to join College administration as VPAA

Starting July 1, 2019, Anne Harris, current vice president of academic affairs (VPAA) at DePauw University, will begin serving as Grinnell College’s VPAA. Harris has dedicated her time at DePauw to furthering diversity and inclusion both on campus and in the community of Greencastle, Ind. Outside of her administration responsibilities at DePauw, Harris specializes in Medieval art history and taught at DePauw prior to becoming DePauw’s vice president of academic affairs.

During her time at DePauw, Harris led a faculty development plan centered on inclusive teaching and support for diversity, while also co-organized annual faculty workshops on race, dialogue and community-building. She developed new co-curricular centers for students, focused on media, entrepreneurship and community engagement.

“Professor Harris is also deeply committed to enhancing student learning and the inquiry-led curriculum that Grinnell promotes. She works closely with students and is an excellent listener too. I am very confident that she will excel at Grinnell,” said current Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Mike Latham. Latham was involved with Harris’s hire, and will work with Harris until he departs the College for his new position as President of Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawai’i next academic year.

Harris described her future responsibilities at Grinnell College as being focused on supporting and aiding in student success.

“I think of it as waking up every morning thinking through what students learn and how they learn. What that means, in practice, is thinking about the whole student, the whole faculty member, and the whole staff member as each individual contributes to discovery and inquiry and can be supported in their development to do so,” Harris said. “It means thinking about the curriculum and research as they advance knowledge and experience — and being a good steward of the educational resources of the institution.”

Of all her accomplishments at DePauw University, Harris cited her work in diversity and academic inclusiveness as some of her proudest achievements. Something she especially liked about her position was, “being able to think concretely (through grants, workshops, curricular change, pedagogical innovation) about how a college community is in a perpetual state of becoming, of striving for greater diversity, more belonging, and more valuing of multiple perspectives.”

On a day to day basis, though, Harris takes inspiration from two meaningful quotes. They are, she said, “John Dewey’s statement in 1916 that ‘Democracy must be reborn with each generation, and education is its midwife, and Dolores Huerta’s statement in 2016 that ‘Education is the new civil rights movement.’”

Harris is also excited to be part of Grinnell College, which she describes as a “living and learning community that fosters individual discovery and inquiry,” in addition to the greater community of Grinnell, Iowa.

During her time at DePauw, Harris was dedicated to building and strengthening the relationship between the college and the community. This is  something she plans on continuing in her new position. Harris is excited become a member of the College and continue to promote the administration’s commitment to social justice.

Harris said that, most of all, she is excited by the “vibrant excellence of the College and its constituents,” overall, and says she is looking forward to having “the opportunity to be a part of an institution that, in its commitment to social justice, will ask hard questions of itself and of the society it can shape.”

Anne Harris, the College’s new vice president of academic affairs, is joining the College from DePauw University. She served in the same role at DePauw, and plans to remain committed to “individual discovery and inquiry.”
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