UMass dean of students appointed interim vice chancellor of student affairs

By Chelsie Field

University of Massachusetts Dean of Students Enku Gelaye was appointed interim vice chancellor of student affairs July 1 after former vice chancellor Jean Kim announced her resignation.

The quiet summer switch was made known to the UMass community via a June 14 email, in which Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy thanked Kim for her four years of service, citing Kim’s pursuit of “other professional opportunities” as her reason for leaving.

Stephen Treat/Daily Collegian

Kim could not be reached for comment and did not leave forwarding contact information with the school, the Massachusetts Daily Collegian was told.

In a prepared statement, Subbaswamy said Gelaye “will be working closely with students on a number of initiatives as we welcome them back to campus this week.”

“We plan to launch a search process for a permanent vice chancellor in the months ahead,” he added.

Gelaye described her role as dean of students as always being “second in command” of Student Affairs, a role that historically, in the absence of a vice chancellor, steps up “for the sake of continuity.”

“It’s built in succession planning,” she said.

Gelaye will continue to fulfill her position as dean of students, saying she views the interim vice chancellor addition as “taking on a broader administrative role.”

“I’ve always done dean of students and something else,” she said. “I’m essentially still playing that role … I’m happy to do it on behalf of the students and the staff.”

She said no new hires have been made due to her additional undertakings.

Her roles with the University—old and new—are primarily leadership-based and involved with “having a voice at the senior leadership level” on behalf of UMass students, she said. This includes a presence with counseling services, the Center for Student Development and the Dean of Students Office that reflects the needs of both graduate and undergraduate students.

“I’m responsible for all those roles in the student affairs areas … I’m ultimately the one, for the sake of the students, that the buck stops with me,” she said, adding that her jobs require her to also stay “consistent” and “in line” with the chancellor’s agenda for the University.

As for her interest in perhaps assuming the official vice chancellor of student affairs position, Gelaye has her energies focused on her responsibilities as hand.

“I haven’t even given that a thought right now,” she said.

 

Chelsie Field can be reached at [email protected]