Krislov Forms Task Force for New Admissions Dean

Louis Krauss, News Editor

Following the retirement of longtime Dean of Admissions Debra Chermonte last fall, College President Marvin Krislov created a search committee of 10 members to help select a replacement to lead the admissions office.

Physics Professor and Search Committee Chair Yumi Ijiri said the group had met in the fall but then delayed future meetings and the formal announcement for the committee until releasing an online advertisement last week. The consulting firm Witt/Kieffer is conducting the search and published the ad.

“We were announced, maybe not as widely in faculty notes, but we didn’t bother to say, ‘Hey, we’re here’ until we were actually going,” Ijiri said. “We put it on hold to align it better with the presidential search committee.”

According to Krislov, the new president will have the chance to look over the shortlisted candidates for dean of Admissions before one finalist is selected.

“The plan is for the new president to interview the finalists for this job, so that the finalists would be presented at some point after it’s known who the new president is,” Krislov said.

There was no comprehensive process to determine who should be on the committee; Krislov said he simply picked those he thought would do a good job, as well as several who had been on the general faculty admissions committee for many years.

“Part of it was trying to figure out who was interested, who had time, and who [could] contribute something,” Krislov said. “There are obviously a lot of people, so on the faculty side, we looked for people who had worked on the general faculty admissions committee. On the senior staff, we looked at people who had particular relationships with admissions.”

Among other functions, the job entails managing the admissions staff, advertising the school and interacting with scholarship programs like Posse and QuestBridge. Chermonte has filled the Admissions dean position for over 25 years and despite retiring is still visiting the office part-time each week to assist the other staffers.

Ijiri said that the challenge of the job is balancing efforts to increase diversity in the student body while also maintaining a steady enrollment number and being financially stable.

“You have to do that in the right financial backdrop, such as having enough students or not enough students,” Ijiri said. “Over the last few years we’ve had times when there’s not enough first-year dorm space or other issues, so all of that goes into the job.”

In addition to faculty, several administrators and two students are also in the group. Natalie Winkelfoos, the Delta Lodge director of athletics and physical education, was added to the committee after expressing interest. Krislov said Winkelfoos has had experience working with admissions in the past in regards to student athlete recruitment.

“Natalie [Winkelfoos] was someone who was interested, and there are a lot of student-athletes and so forth,” Krislov said. “I’ve been very supportive of athletes and student athletics, and Natalie’s been very successful and works very closely with admissions.”

Winkelfoos did not respond to the Review’s request for comment on her role.

In order to incorporate a wide range of opinions, Krislov also added two students: College junior Deron Essex and Conservatory junior Olivia Cosio. Ijiri said Krislov chose Essex partially because he is a Posse scholar; Posse is one of the major scholarship programs the school works with. Still, Essex was surprised by his selection, as Krislov did not send out applications or explain his reasoning.

“I’m not really sure how I got put on the committee,” Essex said. “I just got an email saying, you’re on this [committee]. It’s a pretty big position, so I was honored to be asked.”

Essex was pleased that Krislov decided to add students to the group.

“Whoever comes in, my role is to make sure that they are looking out for students’ best interests; that’s my biggest thing,” Essex said. “It’s great to have so many faculty and administrators on the committee, but student input is really important.”

Mathematics Professor Susan Colley, Religion Professor A.G. Miller and Conducting Professor Tim Weiss are other faculty members on the committee.

Now that the committee is aligned with the presidential search, Ijiri said they will begin interviewing candidates later this month, and selected finalists will visit Oberlin throughout April to be interviewed. The committee hopes to have the position filled soon after the next College president is chosen.