June 9, 2021

Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,

I am pleased to announce that Erika J. Smith, the current Dean of Academic Services at Brandeis University, will become the next Dean of the College at Connecticut College. She will begin her new role Aug. 1.

A former Posse scholar and mentor, Erika brings more than 21 years of experience in higher education administration. She holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Lehigh University; a master of education in education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and a doctor of philosophy in social policy from Brandeis’ Heller School for Social Policy and Management. At Brandeis, in addition to her role as Dean of Academic Services, she has held positions in the Heller School; served as university ombudsperson; led the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program; and advised a cohort of Posse students. Her longtime mentor, Deborah Bial, Founder and President of the Posse Foundation, describes her as “a smart, responsible, and talented educator who believes deeply in young people and in the centrality of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

In her current role at Brandeis, Erika leads a team of 29 staff members to provide undergraduate advising and support for academic success, fellowships, health careers, accessibility, as well as support for first-generation and low-income students. In 2018, she participated in a major revision of the Brandeis Core curriculum, experience that will benefit our community as we work to bring Connections to the next level of excellence and to advance our ambitious agenda of full participation.

In her new role as Dean of the College, Erika will serve as chief student success officer at Connecticut College, responsible for supporting Connections and the College’s advising programs for first-years, sophomores, juniors, and seniors; and for overseeing centers and programs focused on retention, academic and professional development, study away, fellowships, and student employment. These include the Academic Resource Center, the Hale Center for Career Development, the Posse program, the Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program, and the Presidential Scholars program. I am excited for the breadth of experience, intellect, and passion for inclusive excellence she will bring to our senior leadership team.

I want to express my deep gratitude to all who participated in the search process and add a special note of thanks to Michelle Dunlap, professor of human development, and Jeffrey Cole, dean of the faculty, who co-chaired the search, and to all the excellent members of the committee whose good work brought about this outcome: Cheryl Banker, senior associate director of the Hale Center for Career Development; Samirah Jaigirdar ’22, chair of communications of SGA; Geoff Norbert, assistant dean for student engagement and new student programs; Jacob Nozaki ’22, chair of academic affairs of SGA; and Marc Zimmer, the Jean C. Tempel ’65 Professor of Chemistry.

Please join me in congratulating Erika and welcoming her son Ozzy and partner Kenroy Granville to the Connecticut College community.

Katherine Bergeron