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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Associate Dean Skerrett leaving for post at U Richmond

Last week, Associate Dean of the College and Professor of Religious Studies Kathleen Skerrett announced her resignation from Grinnell College at the end of semester. She will become Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Richmond in Richmond, VA.

“The University of Richmond has presented me with a unique opportunity to work with the faculty of arts and sciences to advance initiatives that mean a great deal to me,” Skerrett said.

Skerrett has held a position in the Religious Studies Department since 1998 and the position of Associate Dean of the College since 2007. Last semester, she also served as Acting Vice President of Diversity and Achievement.

As an Associate Dean of the College, Skerrett oversees tenured faculty reviews, works with the prison program and supervises the writing and science labs on campus and the Academic Research Center on campus. She is also known for her annual speech welcoming each class of first-years at New Student Orientation.

During her time at Grinnell, Skerrett has gained a reputation as organized, diligent and accessible to students.

“I honestly don’t know how she did all the work she did,” said SGA Vice President of Student Affairs Holden Bale ‘12. “She was very receptive and open to SGA. If we needed her she was here, despite the fact that she had so many things to do.”

Skerrett observed that during her tenure, the Grinnell community diversified, something that she is proud to be a part of.

“That was through a very intentional, strategic effort upon the parts of the faculty, the student body and the administrative leadership,” she said.

Even before Skerrett was appointed Associate Dean, she had an interest in faculty leadership and multiculturalism.

“I have always been involved in faculty leadership, and moving into the administration allowed me to carry out and implement some of the things that I urged the administration to do as a faculty member,” she said. “It’s a way of becoming more effective in the areas where I want to serve the faculty.”

Students such as Ragnar Thorisson ’11 appreciate her support of the student body as well.

“Kathleen was extremely efficient in introducing and defending the [Hate Crime/Bias-Motivated Incident Response Protocol] to multiple College-level bodies and fought hard for its passage,” Thorisson said. “She has demonstrated her sincere passion for improving the lives of students.”

Skerrett admitted she will miss the Grinnell community that she joined 13 years ago.

“I have lived in a wonderful neighborhood over on Main Street that is just irreplaceable,” she said. “I will miss my assistants in the Associate Dean’s Office, in particular Terri Phipps because she has been indispensable to me.”

On the other hand, Skerrett, a native of Nova Scotia, Canada, looks forward to returning to the East coast.

“I grew up in Toronto and my family is from Atlantic Canada, so I look forward to getting back to water and tall trees.”

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    JulieMar 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    I’m sorry to hear of Kathleen Skerrett’s departure. Who will give her incredible welcome speech to new Grinnell students? She will be missed.

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