A busy week. Nearly too busy. The Class of 2016, adjusting to their new roles as seniors, have been hit like a sledgehammer. Classes are harder than ever, and theses are being written at scratched wooden desks in dark corners of the library, at all hours of the night. Ironically, the year in which the most is requested of students on campus is also the one in which we have the least time to devote. Some students are taking the change fine. Others, worryingly, are already burning out.
The change is probably hardest on Wheaton’s student athletes, whose schedules demand that they work more than the rest of us. A freshman on the softball team will devote about 20 hours a week solely to the sport, leaving shockingly little time for study and homework. By comparison, when I applied to be editor of this newspaper, the commitment suggested on the application was 15 hours a week.
After a week of big, expanding news items, campus has quieted somewhat.
Despite that, the largest piece of news to come out is potentially a massive one; Provost Linda Eisenmann, who has led academics at Wheaton since 2009, will be stepping down at the end of the academic year. While she’ll remain a professor here, President Hanno’s announcement marks the departure of another major Crutcher-era figure. It’s yet another step in the slow turnover of top positions at Wheaton, as Hanno molds his most senior people in his image. Quick hires were Grant Gosselin, the dean of admission who Hanno brought in from Babson College, and Kate Kenny (formerly Kate McCaffrey), the dean of students and former director of Residential Life, who held onto the position in spite of a national search the administration conducted to find a new dean.
Gosselin replaced Gail Berson, a highly respected admissions head who was fired and quickly snapped up by Mount Holyoke College to do the same job. And Kenny was hired, at first temporarily, from Residential Life to replace the eccentric, controversial Lee Williams. Once the most public administration figure on Wheaton’s campus, Williams tended to take more heat from students than she deserved as a result. She left with Crutcher.
The provost is the chief academic officer of Wheaton. Among other jobs, she oversees Wheaton’s professors, the college’s greatest strength. That makes her succession different than the others Hanno has brought about. While Gosselin and Kenny brought radically different (and needed) approaches to their jobs, similar to Hanno’s own, the challenge here will be not to undo what has been done so well in the past.
Categories: From the Editor