As summer vacation gets underway, Yale has appointed new deans for Berkley and Saybrook colleges.
Brianne Bilsky, an English professor at the United States Military Academy, will take over as dean of Berkeley, while Ferentz Lafargue GRD ’04, director of the center for cultural engagement at Catholic University, will assume the position at Saybrook.
Lafargue, who specializes in 19th and 20th century African American culture and literature, holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Africana Studies from Queens College, CUNY, and a doctorate in African American Studies and American studies from Yale. He will replace current Saybrook dean Christine Muller, who is leaving Yale for Wilkes College.
In an email to the Saybrook community last week, Yale College Dean Marvin Chun highlighted Lafargue’s recent coursework exploring the historical period between the Voting Rights Act and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Lafargue has also worked at Eugene Lang College, where he implemented a curriculum for the college’s minor in Ethnicity and Race. And during his time working at Williams College, he oversaw inclusion programming at a campus center that he established to promote conversations about diversity.
Bilsky received a bachelor’s degree in English from Washington and Jefferson College and a doctorate in the same subject from Stanford. Chun noted in an email sent last week to the Berkeley community that Bilsky’s research focuses on the literature of war, as well as pedagogy, rhetoric, and media and information theory. She will replace outgoing Berkeley dean Renita Miller, who recently accepted a position at Princeton.
At Stanford, Bilsky acted as a resident assistant director for the Bing Honors College. She also held administrative positions at Washington and Jefferson, working extensively with first-year students to facilitate their transition to college life, according to Chun’s email.
Berkeley Head David Evans and Saybrook Head Thomas Near chaired the two search committees, which consisted of students and faculty members.
“We are confident that Dean Lafargue is the perfect match for our community,” Near told the News. “He returns to Yale with outstanding credentials in university student life and brings experiences from many different types of universities and colleges.”
Evans said that Bilsky “strikes a wonderful balance between professionalism and personal empathy.”
Bilsky and Lafargue did not respond to requests for comment.