Amanda Hasumann ’21
In two recent emails sent by President Joanne Berger-Sweeney to the Trinity community, it was announced that Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tim Cresswell and Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Mathematics Melanie Stein will not be returning to Trinity in the 2019-2020 academic year. On Mar. 14, Berger-Sweeney announced that Cresswell “has been appointed to the Ogilvie Chair in Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh” and will assume this position on July 1. Less than two weeks later on Mar. 25, Berger-Sweeney announced in an email that Stein “has been named Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences at Ithaca College,” a position she will start on July 1.
Dean Cresswell was appointed to his position in April 2016 after working as an Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the Social Sciences and Humanities at Northeastern University, as well as a professor of history and international affairs at the Northeastern Humanities Center, according to a Trinity press release from April 2016. In her email from March, 2019, Berger-Sweeney says “I am deeply grateful for the steadfastness, energy, and intelligence that Tim brought to his work and for his many contributions to the strengthening of our academic community.” Berger-Sweeney specifically cites Cresswell’s contributions to developing the College’s new mission statement, perpetuating faculty discussion on changing the curriculum, addressing “issues of shared governance and needs of our faculty,” and supporting initiatives such as the Liberal Arts Action Lab and the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER). While no new dean and vice president were named by Berger-Sweeney in her email, she says she will name an interim dean and vice president soon and select a new chief academic officer within the coming months.
Dean Stein joined Trinity in 1995 as a faculty member, but also served as the chair of the Mathematics Department, as interim Dean of the Faculty from 2015 to 2016, and in her current position as Dean of Academic Affairs, as stated in President Berger-Sweeney’s email from Mar. 25. In reaction to her departure, Berger-Sweeney said “Melanie has been a valued member of the Trinity community for 24 years, the last several as an academic dean. It is impossible to quantify her impact on Trinity, but it is unquestionably profound and positive. She has made our community stronger and leaves a legacy of leadership through collaboration, respect, fairness, and integrity.” Stein also spoke to the Tripod and added that she “came to Trinity in 1995 as an eager assistant professor, looking for a place which fostered close relationships between faculty and students, where I could develop as both a scholar and teacher.” Stein stated that she “found exactly that” at Trinity. Further, Stein added that she has “been able to teach so many wonderful students, and the College has supported me and helped me to thrive and to help my students thrive.” Stein, who was born in Ithaca, added that “it feels like going home, but Trinity will always be my second home.”
Berger-Sweeney did not address a possible interim dean or new dean of academic affairs in her email to replace Dean Stein once she leaves Trinity for Ithaca in July. Stein concluded her remarks on her time by saying that she “will always be grateful to Trinity” and that “there are so many folks here I will miss.”