Section: News

Brian Janssen welcomed to Kenyon as dean of students

On Aug. 22, Brian Janssen joined Kenyon College as the new dean of students, a position which was created during last year’s restructuring of the Division of Student Affairs. 

Following former Dean of Student Life Laura Kane’s departure last year, the division underwent internal reorganization under Vice President for Student Affairs Celestino Limas. Several new positions were created within the division, including the dean of students. 

Janssen, who previously worked at Portland State University as director of student organizations and leadership development, was selected for the position via search committee over the summer. Acting President Jeffrey Bowman explained why Janssen was selected. “Brian’s excitement about being on college campuses and history of engagement with students is one of the things that really shout out with him. I’m excited he’s here,” Bowman said.  

Janssen will be responsible for overseeing residential life and student engagement on campus, as well as what Limas called managing “strategic endeavors” for the Division of Student Affairs. In his new role, Janssen hopes to create a system outside of emails for student organizations to post events and updates. “I want to listen to some students and hear what barriers are happening, in student groups and student leadership, to think about how to take down some of those barriers to make it as easy as possible for students to build community together,” Janssen said. He also plans to introduce more creative and diverse forms of communication, such as the use of social media, to provide highlights of Kenyon’s student life to the local community. 

Another goal of the division is to implement changes to residential life on campus. “Accessibility is a really important component of our strategic thinking, not just in residential spaces but in other spaces on campus,” Janssen said. “I’m looking forward to those conversations to make sure our students’ voices are included.” Implementing keyless entry to residence halls and dormitories, along with renovated common areas and lounges, are two ways in which Janssen hopes to improve residential accessibility. 

Janssen added that another goal of the division is to find candidates for positions that remain vacant, particularly for the director of student engagement. This position is overseen by the dean of students and will be primarily responsible for student involvement outside the classroom. 

Janssen emphasized the importance of such involvement on the Hill. “One of the most powerful things about Kenyon is that it’s a small, tight-knit community. So let’s be small and let’s be tight-knit,” he said. 

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