Lively resigns as Dean of the College

The announcement Monday morning comes more than two weeks after Lively’s apparent departure date.

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 7/19/21 1:56pm

by Oliver De Jonghe / The Dartmouth

Updated 1:54 p.m., July 19, 2021.

Sociology professor Kathryn Lively stepped down from her position as Dean of the College on June 30, according to an email sent to campus on Monday by interim Provost David Kotz. 

Kotz wrote that a “search firm to help select an interim dean” has been identified and that he will communicate more about the appointment process “later this summer.”

In the email, Lively is quoted as saying that she will “return to the classroom, after a sabbatical” that will last two years, according to an emailed statement from College spokesperson Diana Lawrence. Kotz wrote that Lively will “[resume] her teacher-scholar role at Dartmouth.”  

In an interview, Kotz said that the over two-week delay in informing the student body about Lively’s resignation was because “it took a lot of time to work out some of the details of the public announcement.” He emphasized that turnover in academia is common at the start of the summer, and said that he would appoint Lively’s interim replacement — the Dean of the College reports to the Provost — “with consultation with various stakeholders.” 

Lively’s decision to resign was made “very recently,” Kotz said, “at least to my knowledge.” 

Until an interim dean is appointed, Lively’s position will be managed by Kotz, Lawrence wrote. 

Lively started as the Dean of the College in July of 2019; she held the position of interim Dean of the College for the preceding year before following the 2018 departure of former dean Rebecca Biron. 

Much of her experience in the position involved leading the Division of Student Affairs in implementing the College's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Kotz’s email. She also worked with Student Assembly on issues such as food insecurity, oversaw further development of the residential House Communities and worked on improving Student Accessibility Services and mental health infrastructure on campus, Kotz wrote. Before becoming Dean of the College, she taught in the sociology department at Dartmouth since 2002. 

Her tenure as Dean of the College during the pandemic was marked by a number of controversies, especially those related to COVID-19 restrictions and student mental health. Her approval rating among the Class of 2021 was just 9%, according to The Dartmouth’s senior survey, a steep decline from her 39% approval rating among members of the Class of 2020 the previous year. 

Kotz said in an interview that he was “grateful” to Lively for her work throughout the pandemic and declined to comment on her approval among the student body, noting that he did not know if it influenced her decision to resign.

Lively’s departure is also the second in the College’s upper leadership in recent months. Former Provost Joseph Helble announced in April that he would leave the College to become president of Lehigh University, his alma mater, and Kotz was appointed to the role of interim provost upon Helble’s departure on July 1. 

As of their appointments in 2018, both Helble and Lively were the sixth person to serve as provost and dean of the College, respectively, in the preceding decade. 

Former Tucker Center chaplain Daveen Litwin also left the College earlier this month. Office of Greek Life director Brian Joyce will leave later this week after accepting a position at another institution, according to Lawrence. 

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

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