Riché Barnes, the assistant dean of social sciences and a professor of sociocultural anthropology at Endicott College, will serve as the new dean of Pierson College, Yale College Dean Marvin Chun announced in an email to Pierson affiliates on Friday.
Barnes, whose academic areas of expertise include gender studies and black and Latino communities and cities, has taught for the past decade at Endicott and Smith colleges. Her 2016 book, “Raising the Race: Black Career Women Redefine Marriage, Motherhood and Community,” won the 2017 Race, Gender and Class Section Book Award from the American Sociological Association.
Barnes is also the co-founder and director of the Association of Black Anthropologists Works in Progress Mentoring Program and serves on the National Research Council’s Ford Foundation Panel of Reviewers in Anthropology.
Chun wrote that Barnes has been actively engaged in mentoring students, having served as a faculty mentor both for the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program and for Rhodes Scholarship candidates, and has been a committee member for honors and master’s level theses.
“I am confident that Ms. Barnes will make many significant and positive contributions to the life of the college, and [Head of Pierson Stephen] Davis and I hope you will join us in welcoming her to Pierson,” Chun wrote.
A nine-person search committee chaired by Davis, consisting of five students and four fellows, began its work earlier this month after Davis solicited student participation in a June 20 email. In that same email, Davis announced that former dean June Chu had left her role. Chu was placed on leave in May after screenshots circulated of offensive reviews she had posted on Yelp.
In a follow-up email to Pierson students Friday, Davis expressed his enthusiasm about Barnes’ selection, praising her experience as an administrator, mentor and scholar.
“But even more important than all that … she is a person who genuinely cares about cultivating meaningful relationships with students and with staff and faculty colleagues,” Davis wrote. “She brings to those relationships a personal integrity that inspires confidence and trust, an unwavering commitment to matters of equity and social justice, and a calming wisdom that makes other people simply want to be in her presence.”
Davis added that he and his wife will host an informal cookout on Sunday to welcome Barnes and her family, and that any students, staff and fellows on campus are welcome. For those not nearby, he said, there will be more opportunities to welcome the new dean when classes start in August.
Barnes earned a B.A. in political science from Spelman College, an M.S. in urban studies from Georgia State University, and a certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Emory University.
According to Chun’s email, the self-described “New England Peach” enjoys bringing southern hospitality northward, such as by baking and distributing brownies. Barnes is also a lifelong journal keeper and avid reader who has participated in two marathons and dabbled in synchronized swimming.
Barnes will move into Pierson with her husband, teenage daughter and twin sons and cat.