When Kimberly Goff-Crews ’83 LAW ’86 assumes the newly-created role of University secretary and vice president for student life next fall, she said she plans to lead by consensus.
Last spring, Goff-Crews took time off from her role as vice president for campus life and dean of students at the University of Chicago to serve on the Advisory Committee on Campus Climate, and Yale administrators said her work on the committee led them to consider how they could make a place for her at Yale. In her new job, Goff-Crews will oversee a new council of student life administrators from Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the professional schools.
University President Richard Levin said Goff-Crews’ impressive skill set, rather than the specific need for a new student life administrator, prompted the appointment.
“When we appointed her to the Marshall Committee in the spring, we looked at each other and thought, ‘Maybe we should make another run at her,’” Levin said. “We had tried to bring her back some years ago, and we’ve always had a high regard for her.”
Still, Levin said in his campus-wide email that “it seems useful” to have a Yale officer devoted to student life at this point in Yale’s history. He later told the News that the ongoing Title IX investigation into Yale’s sexual climate alerted administrators that there was “a need for tighter coordination across the schools.”
Goff-Crews will chair a committee of 14 student life officials from across the University, Levin said. Though current University Secretary and Vice President Linda Lorimer meets with a similar group “once in a while,” Levin said he expects Goff-Crews will establish a formal structure and meet more regularly. He added that her responsibilities will be more specifically defined this summer.
In addition to her role as vice president, Goff-Crews was appointed to University secretary to relieve some of Lorimer’s duties and to provide an incentive for her to come to Yale, Levin said.
“In order to attract her, we needed to give her some broader and different responsibilities to make this job a growth experience for her,” he said.
As part of Goff-Crews’ secretarial duties, she will act as a liaison between the University President and the Yale Corporation, organize commencement and run campus events, Lorimer said. Lorimer will retain oversight of the Association of Yale Alumni, the Office of International Students and Scholars, the Office of Public Affairs and Communications and the Yale Press, she added.
Goff-Crews said she hopes to maintain a positive student atmosphere across the entire University, and her first goal next fall will be to become reacquainted with the Yale community, she said.
From 1992 to 1998, Goff-Crews served as assistant dean in Yale College and director of the Afro-American Cultural Center, a job she said helped her realize her passion for “helping students get the best value out of their education.” Levin said that her experiences as a Yale undergraduate, graduate student and administrator were significant factors in her appointment.
Since leaving Yale in 1998, Goff-Crews has continued to work with students at Lesley University, Wellesley College and the University of Chicago, serving as a dean or student life administrator at all three.
“The fundamental thing we’re focused on is creating the best community and best environment to do their work,” Goff-Crews said, “no matter who they are and no matter what they are doing.”
Eleanor Daugherty, University of Chicago’s assistant vice president for campus life and associate dean of the college, said Goff-Crews listened to student opinion and fostered a “culture of consultation.” Goff-Crews said frequent conversations with members of the community has helped her to “tease out the issues” and develop solutions.
“I think the process of having a conversation is what I want to do, consult with people and find out what their concerns are,” Goff-Crews said.
Goff-Crews will become the ninth officer of the University.