Patrick Farrell, Instructor and Chair in Mathematics, will become the next Dean of Faculty on July 1, succeeding Temba Maqubela, who will assume his new position as Headmaster at The Groton School at the end of this school year.
Head of School John Palfrey announced his selection to the community on Tuesday, March 12.
“[Farrell] has done every aspect of the work of a teacher here at Andover, as a coach, dorm head, classroom teacher and department chair. He has also worked extensively in other academic settings, which allows him to bring both a knowledge of Andover and a perspective from elsewhere to his work. He also has played a central role in our Access to Success agenda, which is our initiative to ensure that all students have the ability to succeed in all ways during their time at Andover. He is committed to the principles of diversity, access and academic excellence,” said Palfrey.
The Dean of Faculty works with department heads to evaluate current faculty, hire new faculty and to oversee faculty benefits, said Farrell. The position rotates every seven years.
Next year, the leadership structure will revert back to the traditional administrative structure where both the Dean of Faculty and Dean of Studies report directly to Palfrey. During the tenure of former Head of School Barbara Chase, the Dean of Studies reported to the Dean of Faculty.
According to a previous article in The Phillipian, Chase changed the reporting structure because she realized it would be difficult to manage the day-to-day academic program and travel extensively.
Farrell and Trish Russell, incoming Dean of Studies, will work together to appoint a new Department Chair in Mathematics with the guidance of Maqubela and John Rogers, current Dean of Studies. They hope to make the decision early in Spring Term, said Farrell.
Farrell has not developed any concrete plans for changes in the Dean of Faculty Office yet.
“Where I am right now, taking on a position like this, is a little bit like a mechanic trying to diagnose a car before he’s picked up the hood and looked at the engine. So what I’ve learned in being Math Department Chair is that many times a view that you had from the other side of the desk changes when you get to this side of the desk,” said Farrell.
He does, however, hope to work with department heads to implement hiring policies used in the Math Department. Currently, when math teaching fellows and full-time candidates visit, they are put in a class where students are doing group work to see how the candidates interact with the students.
“You get a much more honest feel for how that person is. That’s what we really want. We want to see what the genuine person is like and to get them to step out of that interview mode and into the ‘I wonder how I am going to handle this’ [mode],” said Farrell.
Farrell hopes to work with the department chairs to ensure that these types of interactions factor into all hiring decisions.
Currently, Farrell teaches two sections of Math 590 and is Department Chair in Mathematics, in addition to coaching track and working as a House Counselor in Johnson.
After eight years of co-house counseling, Farrell and his wife, Karen Farrell, will move out of their home in Johnson Hall at the end of this year. Farrell, however, plans to continue to interact with students as much as possible.
“I enjoy [the contact that I have with students] immensely… I will keep up teaching at least one course during my first year, and I hope to be teaching maybe two sections after I get more knowledge on the job. I would like to continue to be around on Wednesday nights for math team practices and as much as possible try to stay connected with the students because in making decisions and evaluating faculty and hiring new faculty, the students are always going to be first in my mind,” said Farrell.
As Dean of Faculty, Maqubela helped found programs such as the Accelerate, Challenge, Enrich (ACE) summer program in Colorado, and the BASK in ASK program that will launch this summer in China.
After working this year with Allen Scheier, Visiting Scholar in Mathematics from Lawrence High School, and focusing on issues of “access to success,” Farrell would like to continue the connection between Andover and Lawrence, possibly through a teacher exchange.
“I will say that I have a great deal of interest in math and science education in urban areas. If we leave out students [from math and science education] in struggling schools in urban areas and also in rural high schools where they might not have the same opportunities in math and science, we’re basically losing out on a significant portion of our talent in those areas, and I don’t think that as a nation we can any longer afford to do that,” said Farrell.
The position was open to all faculty members as well as outside candidates. Candidates were nominated by themselves or by other faculty members.
After meeting with all of the nominees, Palfrey narrowed the applicant pool down to six finalists. Each of the six finalists wrote a statement which, along with their resume, was posted online for faculty to review and give input. Palfrey interviewed the six candidates twice and chose Farrell from the final pool.