Section: News

Dean of CDO leaves Kenyon to join neuroscience nonprofit

Dean of CDO leaves Kenyon to join neuroscience nonprofit

Following two-and-a-half years of service, Dean for Career Development Holly McCormack has accepted a position elsewhere.

Holly McCormack, dean for career development, has accepted a position at BrainFutures—a national nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of neuroscience research in improving human learning. McCormack will serve as Chief Strategic Officer for the organization. Her last day at Kenyon College will be Jan. 28, 2020.

In the past two-and-a-half years, the Career Development Office (CDO) has seen an 80 percent increase in total programs offered, an increase in internship offerings by the Kenyon Community Internship Program from nine positions to 40 and the adoption of the career services platform Handshake.

“I’ve never met a community of people as committed to promoting the success of students as I have found here,” McCormack said. “Because of that, we’ve been able to do so much within a short period of time.”

The accomplishments made by the CDO during McCormack’s tenure leaves her confident that Kenyon will be a better place than when she arrived. McCormack credits the partners and team members that she has worked with over the past couple of years as the reason for such success.

Over the past year, McCormack juggled her time directing career development at Kenyon and consulting for BrainFutures. In 2015, she wrote a report concerning brain-based executive function programs for children in grades K-12. The report was for the Kennedy Forum, an organization intent on setting a new standard in the way that health care providers treat mental health and substance use disorders. BrainFutures reached out to McCormack soon afterwards, asking if she would be interested in writing a second version of her report.

“They wanted to do a program guide to actually vet these K-12 executive function school-based programs,” McCormack said. “So for about four or five months last year, I was moonlighting doing that.”

As she worked on a second draft, McCormack reflected on how the supportive approaches applied by BrainFutures helped build resilience in people as individuals and optimized their capacity to learn.

BrainFutures reached out to McCormack after approving a position for a chief strategy officer.

“It’s really focused on helping to promote the uptake of neuroscience technologies as they help people in education, the workplace, and aging populations,”  McCormack said. “[BrainFutures] figures out the barriers preventing the adoption of new technologies from being better used by the public—and then figuring out how to remove those barriers.”

The search for McCormack’s replacement is not yet underway, according to Provost Joseph Klesner, but it is expected to begin in the coming weeks. Associate Director of the CDO Lee Schott will serve as acting director until the College, working with an outside consultant, finds a candidate to replace McCormack. They expect to have a new director by July 1, 2020—the start of the College’s fiscal year.

“Given our growth and what we’ve been able to do in that period of time, I think we are in a really good place, and it would be a good time for someone else to come in,” she said. “They have a strategic plan all set for them. They’ve got some good success in momentum that they would be walking into. I feel like, for the person coming into this role, it’s going to be a dream.”


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