Haverford Announces Interim Dean of the College
Joyce Bylander, who served in the dean’s office at Dickinson College for 20 years, will join the community July 1 for one year, following the departure of Dean Martha Denney.
Haverford College is pleased to announce the appointment of Joyce Bylander to the position of interim dean of the College, starting July 1. Bylander, who retired as vice president and dean of students at Dickinson College in 2018, served the Carlisle, Pa., institution for 20 years in a variety of student-centric roles. She brings with her decades of experience mentoring students, bringing communities together in collaboration, overseeing collegiate student life, and executing a vision for an inclusive and supportive campus environment.
“Joyce will be an outstanding addition to our talented group of colleagues in the dean’s division,” said President Wendy Raymond. “I expect that her extensive experience and enormous capacities will energize our collective work toward inclusive student thriving. I think she will simultaneously be an excellent mentor, a wise leader, an inspiring teacher, and a deep listener ready to learn from all of us. What Joyce values most is making a positive difference in students’ lives. She shares that with all of us at Haverford.”
“She is a bridge builder,” said Susan Rose, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology and director of the Community Studies Center at Dickinson, who has worked and published with Bylander for over 20 years. “She is wonderful, humane, smart, and fair. She cares about the work she does, and she will care about the Haverford community as well and the work you all will be doing together, especially in these uncertain times. You are lucky to have her with you.”
A graduate of Cleveland State University, Bylander began her career in higher education at the University of Charleston, where she also earned her masters in public administration. After overseeing intercultural, international, and exchange programs at her graduate alma mater, she became associate dean of students and director of multicultural affairs at Bucknell University. In 1998, she moved to Dickinson, where she served the community as a dean, associate provost for campus academic life, special assistant to the president for institutional and diversity initiatives, and, finally, vice president and dean of students.
“Higher education administration has allowed me to develop and practice all of the skills I learned in my undergraduate and graduate education in pursuit of a more equitable and just society for all its members,” said Bylander. “Working with college students allows me to ‘touch the future.’ All my hopes and dreams for people and the planet will be carried out by the students whose lives I touch, long after I am gone.”
A passionate advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, Bylander has been an external reviewer of other institutions’ diversity, advising, and women’s resource centers. She is vice chair of the board of the Kettering Foundation’s International Institute for Sustained Dialogue and serves as a national advisory board member of the Bringing Theory to Practice project.
“As a first-generation college student, myself, I was keenly aware of the ways in which college going changes the trajectory of, not just the student, but also their family and community,” said Bylander. “Over the years, I have witnessed the power of education to transform students’ futures, no matter their starting point.”
Joining the Haverford community for a one-year appointment in the time of COVID-19, Bylander is aware of the challenges ahead. But she said she is ready to meet them, aiming to optimize the safety of Haverford students, faculty, and staff while pursuing the College’s mission.
“I believe that students may need a variety of things,” she said. “Some may need reassurance, healing, counseling, grief counseling, and activities and rituals that help them regain a sense of well-being and empowerment. They will need caring and competent adults who can help them navigate the uncertainty and real danger that this period presents. I hope that I will be able to support students and staff while challenging them to rise to meet this moment.”
Bylander is the interim replacement for Martha Denney, who served as dean of the College for 11 years. A national search for her long-term replacement will be undertaken during the 2020–2021 academic year.
“I care deeply about the future, and young people are the architects of that future,” said Bylander. “I hope to apply my experience and my deep commitment to ‘be the change’ to make a difference at Haverford. I hope to help the community transition to their next long-term dean of the College.”