In an email to the Bowdoin community on Monday morning, President Clayton Rose announced that current Dean of Students Janet Lohmann will serve as Bowdoin’s new Dean of Student Affairs, effective July 1, 2019. Lohmann will replace current Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster when he steps down at the end of the academic year Rose noted that the College conducted a national search to replace Foster, ultimately interviewing four finalists.
“The arc of Janet’s career—in student affairs, as a member of the faculty and as a leader who has brought passion, judgment and great insight to the key issues affecting students and to changing our college for the better over a number of years—makes her the ideal choice for this critical position,” Rose wrote in his email.
Foster anticipated that Lohmann would bring a new perspective to the position.
“She’s a remarkable person—she’s quite modest and humble, which I think in many ways personifies what I love about our student body,” said Foster. “She’ll bring a different vision, a different leadership style, a different approach, a different focus to the work than I have, and I think that’ll be great for the College.”
At Bowdoin, Lohmann previously worked as a visiting assistant professor of sociology, assistant dean of student affairs and dean of first-year students. She left the College in 2016 to become dean of students at Kenyon College, then returned one year later to become the dean of students at Bowdoin, then a newly created position.
“I love Bowdoin and I love Maine, and it excited me to come back, but come back with sort of a new voice about how I do this work,” said Lohmann.
Lohmann says she is especially excited to have the opportunity to work more proactively on improving student life.
“A lot of what I’m doing is working with students when they’re feeling vulnerable, when they’re feeling like they’re hitting up against a bump,” said Lohmann of her current position as dean of students. “But the Division of Student Affairs encompasses not only that slice, but really, the Department of Athletics, Career Planning, Student Activities, the Outing Club, the McKeen Center. So I’m really excited about how I can be a little bit more proactive in thinking about the student experience.”
One of the ways she hopes to do so is by strengthening the connections between the Office of Student Affairs and what happens in the classroom.
“I’m eager to think through how we might deepen those partnerships between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs,” said Lohmann. “I think I have a pretty good connection with faculty, and I’m eager to partner with faculty around certain initiatives [about] how we might deepen this connection.”
As Lohmann looks to take on the many responsibilities associated with the position, she anticipates spending more time listening to the input of other offices under the umbrella of Student Affairs.
“[There are] … lots of places in the Division of Student Affairs that, while I partner with them, I haven’t necessarily supervised those offices,” said Lohmann. “My job [in the beginning] is to kind of be on a listening tour and really care what the offices have to say about what they want to do.”
Lohmann also emphasized the importance of student feedback in her work.
“By all means, the reason we do this work is for students, so I am not going to lose sight of the fact that I need students to be a part of this process and that we need to factor in what students are looking for in this work,” said Lohmann.
Lohmann is currently in discussion with Rose regarding her replacement. As of now, there is no timeline for an announcement.