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Thursday, April 24, 2014

New dean at Mount welcomes challenges

By Maya Rajamani
Posted
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
A colleague described the college of Mount Saint Vincent’s new undergraduate dean Sarah Stevenson as “clearly marked for this kind of thing.”

Before she moved to Riverdale, Sarah Stevenson carried a fold-up bicycle with her on the Metro-North ride from Manhattan to the Riverdale station.

That was the easy part.

After disembarking the train, Ms. Stevenson biked up the hill to her job in north Riverdale as an English professor at the College of Mount Saint Vincent (CMSV), come rain or shine.

“You’d see her lugging her fold-up bike up the stairs — another ‘can-do’ part of her personality,” said her colleague Rob Jacklosky, a professor of English and director of writing at CMSV.

It came as no surprise to Mr. Jacklosky and his colleagues when Ms. Stevenson, who has taught at the college since 2001, was appointed dean of CMSV’s Undergraduate College. Ms. Stevenson took the helm on Jan. 1 after pervious dean Paul Douillard retired, having served three years as dean and more than four decades in academia.

“Everybody in the department was thrilled,” said Mr. Jacklosky, who describes Ms. Stevenson as both enthusiastic and collegial. “We all knew it was going to happen — she’s clearly marked for this kind of thing.”

A theater lover whose classes often focus on contemporary drama and female playwrights, Ms. Stevenson has been instrumental to the college durng its curriculum revision process, according to colleagues, serving as the director of the core curriculum and the chair of the core review and outcomes committee. In 2009, she took over as director of the Freshman Seminar Program at the college.

For Ms. Stevenson, the goal has not only been to ease the transition between high school and college, but to ensure that students begin to develop their career aspirations during their time as undergraduates.

“You’re here to be a student and learn as much as you can, but you’re also thinking about getting a direction,” said Ms. Stevenson, who has worked to bridge the gap between the advisement and career development offices.

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