Jeff Huang Announced as Acting Dean of Students
November 16, 2015
Updated November 16, 2015 at 11:15 a.m. This morning, President Hiram Chodosh announced that following Mary Spellman's resignation last Thursday as Dean of Students, Jeff Huang will take her place for the rest of the academic year as the acting Dean while the College conducts a search for her permanent replacement.
Huang's current role at the college is Vice President for Student Affairs, Admission, and Financial Aid; in his announcement, Chodosh stated that Huang will continue to oversee admission and financial aid, though his responsibilities will be reduced while he serves as acting Dean of Students. Huang served as CMC's Dean of Students prior to Spellman's arrival, from 2003 to 2010. Chodosh also announced that Huang will relocate from his office in the Kravis Center to the Dean of Students Office in Heggblade for the rest of the academic year.
About an hour after Chodosh's announcement, Dean Huang sent an email to CMC students about himself and his history with student affairs. Huang wrote that he "entered the field of Student Affairs over 25 years ago not to become a distracted administrator who makes cavalier decisions about students' lives," but because he believed that he "could do some good in the world by helping college students see things that they didn't see, connect and support them, and help them grow and develop."
Huang described his own background, as "the child of an immigrant father and a non-traditionally-college-aged mother," and wrote that he "could not have afforded to attend a college similar to CMC if it were not for Financial Aid" — one of the offices he currently oversees at CMC. "I can remember times when I was flat broke, academically adrift, and offended by insensitive actions by my peers, all at the same time," Huang continued. "I can distinctly remember times when I felt isolated, confused, and even desperate."
Huang traced his decision to start a career in college student affairs back to his Dean of Students in college, who counseled him when he was "ready to quit college." "I don't remember exactly what she said, but I know that she believed in me," Huang wrote; "Without her, and others like her whom I eventually found, I would not have graduated from college."
In his letter, Huang affirmed, "I'm an advocate for students, and I want to support all CMC students," adding that "This is the time for CMC to heal and move forward." Finally, he asked students to give him "a chance to work things out," and to offer "your best ideas for how we can improve the CMC student experience for all students" and "your support and acceptance, even through my mistakes." He concluded, "What I'm offering in return is someone who will work with you to find some great new staff members to augment the talents in the Dean of Students Office, advocacy for student needs, and a genuine effort to heal and improve our community."
In his role as Vice President for Student Affairs, Huang and former Dean Spellman worked frequently together on issues at the College related to student life, including student complaints about social scene policies, messaging from the College regarding drug use on campus, and reforming sexual assault policy. As acting Dean of Students, Huang will also oversee the current cohort of Resident Assistants.