Many Yalies rely on residential college masters and deans to help foster a sense of community within the college. But this year the tables are turned, as two new deans and two acting masters are relying on students to welcome them into their new positions in three different residential colleges.
Jennifer Wood-Nangombe GRD ’04 and John Mangan are the new deans of Ezra Stiles and Jonathan Edwards colleges, respectively. Traugott Lawler, master of Stiles from 1986 to 1995, will resume his role for the year before Stuart Schwartz takes over the post permanently next year. University Chaplain Frederick “Jerry” Streets is standing in as master of Trumbull College during Janet Henrich’s one-year sabbatical.
A doctoral candidate in African-American and American studies, Wood-Nangombe was a graduate affiliate in Calhoun College for four years and has worked as an assistant dean and housing officer at Harvard. She is also the only dean or master who is from New Haven.
“I love Yale,” Wood-Nangombe said. “I was at Harvard last year and I missed it.”
She also said that so far she has enjoyed her new role as a residential college dean.
“I’ve been amazed by how friendly and supportive the Stiles community has been. — They’re all very fascinating people,” she said.
Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead said Wood-Nangombe has a remarkable amount of experience.
“It’s rare to find someone with such relevant experience and obvious enthusiasm for advising,” he said.
Mangan, who has worked at Undergraduate Career Services and was a resident fellow in Timothy Dwight College, left Yale last year to be the dean of Ross Commons at Middlebury College. The “commons” system at Middlebury is similar to Yale’s residential college system.
In addition, Mangan is a classical guitarist. Prior to his arrival in New Haven, Mangan was a full-time musician with roots in rock, jazz and bluegrass.
Brodhead said that Mangan has been admired for his previous jobs at Yale.
“He’s somebody who has a track record at Yale but also has a lot of highly relevant outside experience to add to the college, which is really an ideal combination for a college dean,” he said.
Mangan was not available for comment.
Lawler said he is glad to be back at Stiles and serving as acting master.
“I loved doing it before, and it’s very cool for me to be doing it again,” he said. “I think there is an excellent spirit at Ezra Stiles; I just would like to see it continued.”
Lawler also said that his experience as master might be useful to Wood-Nangombe since there is a change of both master and dean in Stiles this year.
“This year, she has an experienced master to work with, and next year, the new master will have an experienced dean to work with,” he said.
Like Lawler, Streets is occupying the role of master for one year.
He said he hopes to add to the intellectual and cultural life of the community in Henrich’s absence.
“Trumbull College seems to be a very wonderful place [with] an extremely warm and generous student body,” he said.
Streets, who has been university chaplain since 1992, said that this new job seems to be a natural outgrowth of his University-wide job.
“The work of the chaplain is very much focused on the undergraduate community, so there are a lot of similarities,” he said.
He added that so far, he has been enjoying his job and has taken pleasure in getting to know the Trumbull community.
“These opening weeks have been just wonderful,” he said.