April 11, 2011

Cornell Appoints Renee Alexander ’74 New Associate Dean of Students

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The University annouced Monday that Renee Alexander ’74, the current director of diversity alumni programs in alumni affairs and development, will be the new  associate dean of students and director of intercultural programs.

Alexander’s newly-created role, effective April 18, is one of three new high-level positions that will support underrepresented students, according to a University press release.

Dean of Students Kent Hubbell ’69, chair of the search committee, said he believes that Alexander is “ideally suited for this position.”

“She has a thorough understanding of the history of Cornell as an alum, experience in student affairs early in her career and alumni affairs more recently” Hubbell said. “Given her commitment to the welfare of Cornell … she will be a terrific addition to our staff.”

In her new role, Alexander will report to the dean of students and will assume res­pon­si­bility for the student life components of cross-cultural and diversity programming, according to the University.

Alexander will serve as a liaison between the various program houses, co-ops, fraternities and sororities, cultural student and counseling offices to help provide greater coordination among student-related programs and student groups, the press release said.

She will also work closely with the two additional new positions: the associate vice provost for academic diversity initiatives and the graduate school associate dean for inclusion and professional development, according to the University.

The search committee chose Alexander from “a substantial number of candidates,” Hubbell said.

Student Assembly President Vincent Andrews ’11, a student member of the search committee, said that Alexander was chosen because she “knew most of the student leaders she interacted with and had the greatest support from the student community.”

However, some students stand in opposition to having an associate dean of students and director of intercultural initiatives. Andrea Carter ’12 said that the creation of the position did not address the real issues facing underrepresented groups.

“Interactions amongst underrepresented student groups do not need to be addressed so much as the interaction between such groups and the larger Cornell community.”

Alexander will temporarily occupy an office on the fourth floor of Willard Straight Hall, but will then move to 626 Thurston Ave., in August. The office on Thurston Ave. is currently being completely renovated and, when finished, will make it easier for students from the many cultural centers and from college-specific programs to network with each other.

Alexander was unavailable for comment Monday night.

Original Author: Liz Camuti