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Dingman Splits Time Between Two Deanships

By Jalin P. Cunningham and Ignacio Sabate, Crimson Staff Writers

Shuffling between the Morton Prince House and University Hall, Interim Dean of Student Life Thomas A. Dingman ’67 said he is readjusting his work schedule and has no plans to introduce “spanking-new” initiatives.

Dingman, who now splits his days between leading the Freshman Dean’s Office and the Office of Student Life, took over for former Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde on Feb. 1, just one week after Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana announced Lassonde would relinquish the post.

While managing the OSL as administrators search for a replacement dean, Dingman said he plans to rely on personnel at both offices and delegate work to administrators at the FDO.

“There are some very competent people over in the Office of Student Life,” Dingman said. “I’m lucky to be able to count on them to keep trucking.”

In the week since Lassonde’s departure, Dingman said he has focused on “learning more about the job.” He did not specify how long he would remain at the helm of the Office of Student Life, but said Sheila C. Thimba, the College’s dean for administration and finance, is leading the search for a permanent replacement.

“I don’t have a clearly defined agenda of mine,” Dingman said, who added that launching new initiatives as an interim dean would be inopportune. “I know work that I’ve inherited, and I will be focused largely on that in the short term.”

Dingman, who now leads the office that manages student housing, extracurriculars, and residential tutors, said he will help lead the search for new House masters in Currier House. Dingman added that his new appointment has meant a busier schedule, leading him to delegate work to other administrators at the FDO.

Still, Michael C. Ranen, one of four freshman resident deans, said day-to-day operations at the FDO have remained mostly unchanged.

“We’ve all been taking on some small projects that [Dingman] usually attends to,” he said, although he added the additional workload has not been overwhelming on FDO staff. “We have a very strong office.”

Khurana wrote in an emailed statement that he is “confident in [Dingman’s] ability to steward this important office as we conduct a search for a permanent replacement.”

Since Khurana first detailed Lassonde’s departure, many have praised the former dean and his involvement in student life and questioned his sudden exit. In Mather House, where he still resides, House masters Christie McDonald and Michael D. Rosengarten lauded Lassonde for his presence at House events.

In the History department, Lassonde will continue working until at least the end of the 2015-2016 academic year. His course, History 74j: “Children and Childhood in America, 1640-Present,” will meet for a third time this week.

—Staff writer Jalin P. Cunningham can be reached at jalin.cunningham@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @JalinCunningham.

—Staff writer Ignacio Sabate can be reached at ignacio.sabate@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter@ignacio_sabate.

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