Admissions dean search progresses

The search committee for a new dean of undergraduate admissions to replace Jeffrey Brenzel has already identified potential candidates to interview.
The search committee for a new dean of undergraduate admissions to replace Jeffrey Brenzel has already identified potential candidates to interview. Photo by Allie Krause.

Following the announcement last fall that Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeffrey Brenzel will step down at the end of the 2012-’13 year, the search for a new dean is already underway.

Brenzel said in October that he planned to end his tenure at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to focus on his role as master of Timothy Dwight College and to resume teaching philosophy in Directed Studies — ending a seven-year term leading the office. University Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews, who is chairing the search committee for a new admissions dean, said she hopes to have a new dean named sometime this spring.

“We are proceeding nicely, judiciously,” she said. “There are some great candidates out there that will do really well at Yale and will continue to build great classes we’ve seen in the past couple of years.”

The search committee has already identified potential candidates to interview, Goff-Crews said, although no one has come to campus yet. Goff-Crews declined to comment on the number of candidates the committee is currently considering, though she said its  national search has considered both internal and external candidates.

University President Richard Levin said he feels very optimistic about the succession, adding that he thinks Brenzel is leaving behind a “strong infrastructure” of well-developed admissions procedures and dedicated staff members. Levin said he does not think that the changing leadership of the University and city at large — the triple turnover of the president, provost and New Haven mayor — will pose many challenges for the new admissions dean.

According to Levin, sometime after spring break, the search committee plans to narrow down the candidates to a short list of finalists which he, President-elect Peter Salovey and Yale College Dean Mary Miller will review. Levin said he anticipates the search to conclude sometime in April.

“I think the key is to get a right leader who will serve us well by selecting an extraordinary class and really having great connection to the world of high schools,” Levin said.

The “nature of the transition” to the new dean will depend on his or her prior experience, Brenzel said, but the fact that Brenzel will remain on campus as TD Master and as a professor in Yale College will make it possible to assist the new dean in whichever ways he or she will find helpful.

Brenzel — who called the admissions dean position a “challenging” job — added that he hopes a new dean will take the first year in the role to become well-acquainted with the office and process, as he initially did when he took the position in 2005. Though he declined to comment on what qualities he would personally like to see in the new dean, Brenzel said he does not anticipate the new dean will make any radical changes to the Yale Admissions Office in the short term, but that the admissions landscape is always changing over the long term.

Salovey said he hopes the new dean will have similar qualities to Brenzel, who he said “shaped terrific cohorts of Yale College students and has also been a thoughtful spokesperson for higher education.”

Levin said he would like to see a person who “has the potential of being a real leader,” understands college admissions and also “knows the Yale scene.”

The admissions dean reports to the University President and Yale College Dean.

Brenzel will officially step down from the Admissions Office on June 30, 2013, after the close of the admissions cycle for the Class of 2017.

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