Freshman year and the constant opportunity to meet new people can become overwhelming pretty quickly. Pro tip for 2017-ers: your class dean, Louise Brown, is a good person to start with.
Class deans provide a number of resources to students, including academic advising, assisting with the transition into college, and helping students think ahead into their post-college years. Brown expressed her excitement for starting off the year with the Class of 2017.
Brown listed some of her priorities for working with freshmen: the transition into the Wesleyan community, the increase in intellectual exploration and campus involvement, and the arsenal of relationships and connections possible at the University.
Some might even recognize Brown from the Summer Sendoffs in West Hartford, Conn. and New York City. She attended both events and said she had a blast meeting the incoming freshmen there.
“It [was] like a teaser for how awesome the incoming class is going to be,” she said.
Brown has been at Wesleyan for 18 years. Before coming here, she was a dean for first-year students at Connecticut College.
“It’s great to be the first-year dean again for this class,” she said. “I feel so lucky and privileged to be in this position.”
When Brown first got to Wesleyan, students moved from dean to dean each year: there was a dean assigned to freshmen, one assigned to sophomores, and so on. In the time since that system ended, Brown has worked as the dean for two Wesleyan classes: 2009 and 2013. Now that she follows a single class throughout its time here, she noted, she gets to communicate more thoroughly with her students.
“You really get to know the students and see them become who they are over the time they spend here,” she said.
While many students will get to know Brown during the time they spend in her North College office, many will also come across her in a very different setting: singing for a rock band called Smokin’ Lilies. Among the band’s members are Professor of Sociology Rob Rosenthal and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program and Director of the College of the Environment Barry Chernoff.
“Our music is eclectic, but mostly on the classic rock side,” Brown said. “Michael Roth sits in with us sometimes, too, to play keyboard, which is really fun.”
In addition to being a class dean, Brown is the Dean for Academic Advancement.
“I supervise the class deans, associate dean for [Student Academic Resources], and the associate dean for International Student Affairs, but a lot of it is also initiating and coordinating dean’s office projects,” she explained.
Between her work as a class dean and her role in supervising the other deans, Brown explained that she never has a dull moment in North College.
“[My position] keeps me on my toes,” she said.
Above all, Brown hopes to encourage as many people as possible to visit her office as a resource.
“We do outreach to students, and we want to see as many students as we can,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be just if there’s a problem. We love to talk to students about their next steps—what they want to do while they’re at Wes and what they want to do in life post-Wes.”