Admins: The men and women who run the University

After you get used to the ubiquitous presence of gargoyles and the profusion of nerdity, one of the first things you’ll notice about the U of C is its complex and often overwhelming bureaucracy.

By Chris Boots

After you get used to the ubiquitous presence of gargoyles and the profusion of nerdity, one of the first things you’ll notice about the U of C is its complex and often overwhelming bureaucracy. Whether you’re figuring out how to change your meal plan or simply reading another campus-wide e-mail about University initiatives, the number of offices and job titles are sure to astound you. To ease the pain, here’s a rough guide to President Robert Zimmer and his legion of deans and vice presidents that oversee all aspects of your new life.

President Robert J. Zimmer

From his first year behind the wheel of the University, President Zimmer has presented a broad program of reform, focusing particularly on improving the quality of undergraduate life. While the announcement of record donations and a continued rise in national university rankings have accompanied his efforts, Zimmer has weathered criticism for departing from the traditional U of C identity by abandoning the Uncommon Application and voicing concern about the College’s reputation relative to other elite institutions.

In its second year, Zimmer’s administration reached further fundraising milestones, announcing the construction of a new library and the elimination of student loans for undergrads from low-income families. After hearing concerns over his office’s lack of transparency, Zimmer made a notable effort to connect with the campus community through a program of open forums. He also received praise for an effective response to the murder of graduate student Amadou Cisse, announcing substantial increases in the University’s campus security program.

However, Zimmer’s office has not avoided criticism. Delays in the construction of the new dormitory, continued roadblocks with the Hyde Park community over local development, and a sluggish response in filling the important office of vice president for community affairs have all brought fresh accusations of ineffectiveness. To placate critics this year, Zimmer will have to continue his success at fundraising while navigating these and other challenges that accompany an expanding university.

Provost Thomas Rosenbaum

Responsible for the everyday execution of the University’s academic operations, Rosenbaum works with administrators from all departments to carry out the U of C’s academic mission. His office supervises a wide range of initiatives, from the master plan for campus expansion to the newly created Darfur Action and Education Fund. Rosenbaum is also a professor of physics.

Vice-President and Dean of Students in the University Kim Goff-Crews

After Zimmer, Goff-Crews wields the most power over your daily life here in Chicago. Broadly charged with supervising both graduate and undergraduate life at the University, Goff-Crews oversees housing and dining, athletics, campus safety, ORCSA, the Registrar, and the Bursar, among many other departments. Entering her second full year at the U of C, Goff-Crews became a familiar face last fall as her office was at the center of increased security efforts following the Cisse murder. She came under fire last spring for stalling a widely supported proposal to allow gender-neutral housing and will likely be at the forefront of that debate again this fall.

Vice-President and Dean of Enrollment Michael Behnke

By this point, you’ve certainly heard of admissions guru Ted O’Neill, but you probably aren’t familiar with Behnke, his boss. Behnke controls admissions and financial aid for all University divisions, including the College. He drew criticism along with Zimmer for the decision to adopt the Common Application, but under his watch, applications to the U of C have hit record numbers.

Dean of Students in the College Susan Art

In a position similar to that of Goff-Crews, Art is responsible for supervising undergraduate student life and ensuring that students stay on the right track toward graduation. Her office controls the College advising system and study abroad program, including application to prestigious scholarships. She also deals with disciplinary matters, particularly accusations of academic dishonesty.

Dean of the College John Boyer

One of the U of C’s most veteran administrators, Boyer has been in charge of undergraduate academics since 1992. In that time, he has overseen sweeping changes in the Core and the improvement of the College’s study abroad programs, including the establishment of the University’s Paris Center. Also a history professor, Boyer teaches the European Civilizations sequence and is infamously known for being able to reference the Hapsburg Empire during any convocation or commencement speaking engagement.

Assistant Vice-President for Student Life and Associate Dean of the College Bill Michel

Michel is the senior administrator for student life and has spearheaded new initiatives for collaboration, communication, and the appropriation of resources for student activities and organizations.

Deputy Dean of Students in the University for Housing and Dining Services and Assistant Dean of the College Cheryl Gutman

Gutman coordinates dorm life, the dining halls, and the University bus system, overseeing the on-campus aspects of student life.

Associate Dean of Students in the University and Director of Undergraduate Student Housing

Katie Callow-Wright

Callow-Wright oversees the housing system, including the hiring and coordination of R.H.s and R.A.s and the implementation and administration of housing rules.

Associate Dean of Students in the University and Director of ORCSA Sharlene Holly

Holly supports recognized student organizations and events on campus and serves as the administrative liaison for Student Government.