As the Michigan Student Assembly and the University work to
conduct a national search to replace Dean of Students Ed Willis, a
former associate dean at the law school will temporarily assume the
Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper announced
by e-mail Friday that Susan Eklund will be the interim dean of
students in the fall. The replacement follows the resignation of
Willis on May 12 for personal and family-related reasons.
The dean of students coordinates the University’s various
Division of Student Affairs departments including co-curricular
programs, multicultural services and specialized services for
students as well as faculty and staff.
The University Board of Regents is expected to approve
Eklund’s appointment to the position on August 9.
“The main thing I want to do is be supportive of the
really terrific staff in the Division of Student Affairs. They have
a lot of strategies and plans for the upcoming year and it is
really important that they do not have to slow down to implement
their ideas because I am there,” Eklund said.
Citing Eklund’s 30 years of experience in student affairs
and leadership, Harper said that she is excited to have her serving
in this role. “(Eklund) is a seasoned professional who will
assist the Office of the Dean of Students in maintaining its
“I think the undergraduate and graduate students will find
her to be of great support,” she added.
Ecklund, who is an alum, was a dean at the law school for 23
years and was responsible for many areas, including admissions,
financial aid, academic advising, students programs and curriculum
Eklund also served as the director of user services for the
University of Michigan Administrative Information Services.
“She has recently retired from the University and came
back because of her love for students and to help out until we can
fill the position permanently,” Harper said.
Harper also announced in her e-mail that the Search Advisory
Committee for a permanent dean of students will be headed by
Barabara MacAdam and will be comprised of both undergraduate and
graduate students, faculty and staff.
MacAdam has served as an adjunct faculty member in the School of
Information and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.
She is also a past chair of the Student Relations Advisory Council
and is currently the head of reference for the University
Harper said the MSA and Rackham Student Government usually
appoint the student representatives. She said she typically tries
to have at least two undergraduate students and two graduate
students. She will also appoint some faculty and staff to the
Jason Mironov, MSA president, said the organization will
“have interviews and make appointments relatively
soon.” He explained that MSA is seeking a representative
makeup of University student voices on the committee.
“We want to secure as much student input as
possible,” Mironov said. “The goal of not only this
search committee, but also for the future of MSA, is to continue to
institutionalize student input in all decision-making processes of
the University of Michigan.”
The committee will be assembled this month and will launch its
national search for candidates in mid-September. According to
Harper, national searches can take anywhere from six to eight
months to fill the position.
After the candidates are recommended, they will be publicly
presented to the University. These presentations are tentatively
scheduled to begin in late January.
“There will be campus visits by each of the
candidates,” Harper explained. “Students will have an
opportunity to meet with each of (them).”
The dean of students oversees various student divisions,
including the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center,
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs, Services for
Students with Disabilities and Greek Life.
Leaders from these divisions placed an emphasis on a good
relationship with students as what they would like to see from a
LGBT Affairs Director Frederic MacDonald-Dennis said it is
important that the dean of students be willing to “advocate
on behalf of all students,” and SSWD Director Sam Goodin said
he would like to see “someone who is very supportive”
fill the position.
The Division of Student Affairs hopes to have a candidate
selected by the spring of 2005.