Russell to Replace John Rogers as Dean of Studies, Will Report Directly to Palfrey

Trish Russell, Instructor in Biology and Sustainability Coordinator, will begin a six-year term as Dean of Studies on July 1, replacing John Rogers, current Dean of Studies, as Rogers completes his own six-year term.

The Dean of Studies is responsible for overseeing Andover’s academic program. Head of School John Palfrey appointed Russell to the position on December 7.

Although in the past the Dean of Studies has reported to the Dean of Faculty, Palfrey said that Russell will report directly to the Head of School.

Russell will collaborate with the department chairs to regulate course offerings and work closely with faculty and staff from the College Counseling Office (CCO), the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology, the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library (OWHL) and the Scheduling Office.

“We have department chairs, who keep track of what is going on in their departments, and we have advisors who keep track of what’s going on with individual students. The Dean of Studies’s job is to say that this is our entire collection of [course] offerings—is that all fitting together as a package, how is it evolving over time and what do we see as a future?” said Russell.

During his term, Rogers has been involved with the revision of diploma requirements, changing the school calendar and course offerings and improving professional development, according to Russell. She hopes to follow Rogers’s lead and help to guide the academic program in new directions.

“My impression from being a teacher during [Rogers’s] years as Dean of Studies is that he has had a significant role in creating room in the program for interdisciplinary courses. He’s had an enormous influence on academic integrity and has also done a lot of work on the calendar recently,” said Russell.

“I want to look ahead to what is the next wave in terms of the evolution of our program, given technology in the classroom, off-campus learning opportunities, globalization, sustainability and Non Sibi,” she continued.

As Dean of Studies, Russell will join the Head of School, Dean of Students, Dean of Faculty, Dean of Admission, Associate Head of School and other top administrators on the Senior Administrative Council (SAC), a committee that oversees the long-term management of the school.

Russell said, “[SAC does] the big, 30,000-foot-view planning. What are the budgets going to look like over the next five years? What are the big projects that the school wants to undertake in the next five years? What is the highest priority for the next strategic plan? For the next wave of fundraising? What are our admissions goals?”

The Dean of Studies traditionally reported to the Head of School until former Head of School Barbara Landis Chase delegated the job to Temba Maqubela, Dean of Faculty, according to Russell.

“Mrs. Chase recognized that she was going to be travelling quite a bit and that it would be difficult to keep up with what was going on on a day-to-day basis in the academicw program. That’s when she changed the reporting structure. I think, especially early in his tenure here, Mr. Palfrey want[s] to be more directly involved in the academic program,” said Russell.

Russell applied for the Dean of Studies position before Thanksgiving break this fall. All members of the faculty were invited to apply. Each candidate met with Palfrey, the Academic Council, members of the SAC, department chairs and the directors of the OWHL and the Peabody. The faculty were encouraged to send feedback to Palfrey with advice and recommendations. Palfrey ultimately made the decision, according to Russell.

Russell has been at Andover since 1989, when she began teaching physics, biology and environmental science.

“One of the things that I really enjoy doing—that I’ve enjoyed in all of my roles here—is working with really interesting students and really inventive, clever, incredibly motivated, energetic colleagues. I learn from my students and colleagues constantly… I love [to] help sift through people’s good ideas and take those ideas to make them into a program,” said Russell.

In addition to serving as an Instructor in Science, she has also served as Dean of Rabbit Pond and Abbot Clusters, Sustainability Coordinator, a resident house counselor and a swimming coach. She is currently the Interim Dean of West Quad South Cluster.

Rogers, who will complete his term at the end of this school year, looks forward to returning to being a full-time Instructor in Chemistry. “I am excited by the possibilities that come with having more direct teaching time in the classroom and more time to focus on this aspect of my work. After all, that is what brought me to Andover in the first place,” he said.