The Johns Hopkins Gazette: July 9, 2001
July 9, 2001
VOL. 30, NO. 39


Homewood: First Dean of Student Life

In newly created post, Susan Boswell will direct nonacademic services

By Dennis O'Shea

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

Susan Boswell, dean of students at the Homewood campus for the past 13 years, has been appointed to the new position of dean of student life.

Boswell, who began the new job July 1, is responsible for nonacademic services for both the full-time undergraduates and graduate students in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering.

Susan Boswell, seated here in front of the freshman residence halls, will now oversee the extracurricular activities for all undergraduate and graduate students at Homewood.

"Dean Boswell has a very strong commitment to enhancing the extracurricular experience of Homewood students and has been a major contributor to the significant improvements in student life that have occurred here over the past dozen or so years," wrote the Homewood deans, Ilene Busch-Vishniac of Engineering and Richard E. McCarty of Arts and Sciences, in a message to students, faculty and staff. "She and the very strong staff she leads will continue to move these very important initiatives forward."

Boswell has served for the past year as interim dean of Homewood Student Affairs, stepping in after former dean Larry Benedict left for a position at MIT. Originally, she said, she was not interested in a new position on a permanent basis and intended to return to the dean of students position she has held since 1988. Slowly, she said, that changed.

"I found that it was incredibly challenging but very rewarding," she said of the interim position. "Come January or February, I realized I was really enjoying it."

In her new position, Boswell will remain responsible for offices and activities that have reported to her as dean of students, such as Residential Life, Orientation, Student Activities, Multicultural Student Affairs and student conduct. But she will also manage other aspects of student services at Homewood that in the past reported to Dean Benedict or others. Her new turf includes Housing, Dining Services, Campus Ministries, the Counseling Center and Athletics and Recreation.

Deans McCarty and Busch-Vishniac also announced that other elements of the old dean of Homewood Student Affairs job will now be handled by another newly created position, also at the level of dean, though the exact title has not been determined. This new person--to be recruited in a search that will be launched immediately--will report to McCarty and Busch-Vishniac in parallel with Boswell. He or she will be responsible for enrollment and academic-related services such as Undergraduate Admissions, Financial Aid, the Registrar and Academic Advising.

Dividing the student affairs "turf" between two senior administrators "ensures that [both areas] will receive all the attention they need and deserve," the deans wrote. "We believe this new arrangement will serve our student body well."

"I'm really especially excited about forming a partnership with the new dean, because the two areas really are complementary," Boswell said. "This really enables us to move forward in a very thoughtful way to do the most we can do for student life and still stay at the cutting edge in the enrollment area." Boswell will continue to manage the offices reporting to the new dean on an interim basis until that person is appointed.

Boswell arrived at Johns Hopkins in 1986 as a special assistant to the dean of students and became dean two years later, after also serving as director of student activities. She is a 1977 graduate of the State University of New York at Cortland and earned a doctorate in counseling psychology at Northern Arizona University in 1986.