Come this June, a fresh face will join the ranks of the College’s Office of Student Life: Alex Miller, the University of Chicago’s Director of Student Involvement will serve as the College’s Assistant Dean of Student Life.
David R. Friedrich, the current associate dean of Student Life, was assistant dean from 2009 to 2013, but the position has remained vacant since his departure from that post. The College began a national search for the position in October 2015 following staffing changes in the Office of Student Life, and Friedrich led the search committee.
According to a College-wide email sent Thursday morning, Miller will work specifically to advance the College’s efforts to recenter social life in the 12 upperclassman Houses, increase programming across the Houses, and oversee advising for student organizations. Friedrich also currently oversees student groups and the College’s residential life.
“I definitely am interested in finding out where I could be most useful,” Miller said, from his office at the University of Chicago. “I do definitely recognize that Harvard has a distinctive residential experience. It’s going to be helpful kind of learning that culture.”
While one vacancy has been filled, the OSL still has a hole at its top; the administration has yet to find a permanent replacement for the Dean of Student Life position after Stephen Lassonde, the office’s previous occupant, abruptly left earlier this semester. Meanwhile, Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman ’67 has taken up the role of interim dean of Student Life.
In a February interview with The Crimson, College Dean for Administration and Finance Sheila Thimba said although the search process for Lassonde’s replacement is in the early stages, the College hopes to find someone to occupy that role by the beginning of the next academic year.
A number of administrators said they were excited by the news of Miller’s appointment.
“We are really delighted that he has accepted this position, and we’re looking forward to having him join the Harvard community,” Friedrich said. “In terms of his role, he has a responsibility to support student activities and student leaders and their extracurricular involvement and leadership development opportunities.”
Friedrich added Miller’s experience working in similar roles will benefit the OSL, and Dingman cited similar excitement about the hire.
“I think it’s an awesome opportunity,” Dingman said. “Alex impressed the search committee with his very relevant experience, his wisdom, and his want.”
Resident Dean of Freshmen for Oak Yard Madeleine Currie also said she was “thrilled” with the hire, and is looking forward to working with him.
Miller closely echoed Currie’s sentiments.
“I’m excited to join the College,” he said.
—Staff writer Jalin P. Cunningham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @JalinCunningham.—Staff writer Ignacio Sabate can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ignacio_sabate.
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