To: CSL Staff
From: Karen Warren Coleman, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services
Date: May 18, 2016
Dear CSL Colleagues,
It is with mixed emotions that I am writing to let you know that Karlene Burrell-McRae has accepted the position of Dean of the College at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. In this new role, Karlene will have responsibility for all aspects of student life, lead the College’s diversity and inclusion efforts, oversee the civic engagement program and serve as a member of the faculty by presidential appointment. Karlene’s last day with UChicago will be June 30.
This is an extraordinary opportunity for Karlene to serve her alma mater, and while we will miss her insightful, collaborative and transformative leadership, I am confident that the impact she has had within the University community will continue to be felt for years to come.
As many of you know, Karlene first joined the University in August 2014 as Director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and Associate Dean of Students in the University. After launching the Center for Identity + Inclusion, Karlene assumed new responsibilities as Executive Director of the Center. Throughout her tenure with Campus and Student Life, Karlene worked tirelessly on behalf of students and was instrumental in highlighting the experiences and challenges faced by undocumented, low income and first generation students. Karlene also developed important partnerships, helped shape the University’s climate survey efforts, contributed to both the Diversity Leadership Council and Diversity Advisory Council, and was instrumental in bringing extraordinary guests Van Jones, Nikki Giovanni, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Ernest Green to our annual MLK Commemoration Celebration.
The University’s commitment to diversity is central to its mission of discovery, and CSL works to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students – from undergraduates to advanced doctoral students. We are grateful to Karlene for her many contributions to the University; her humanity, compassion, and clarity of purpose were all gifts for which we are tremendously appreciative. We look forward to updating the campus community in the weeks ahead on a plan for interim leadership for the Center for Identity + Inclusion while a search for Karlene’s successor gets underway. We will also share an update shortly about a farewell event for Karlene.
Please join me in thanking Karlene for all of her contributions to our campus community, and wishing her success in her new role.
Karen Warren Coleman
Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services