When students learned that this would be Lisa Hollibaugh’s final semester as Barnard’s first-year class dean before becoming the dean of international and global strategy, many said they wanted to cry.
Barnard Dean of Studies Natalie Friedman informed students of Hollibaugh’s transition to her new role in an email sent Wednesday afternoon, which included a message from Barnard President Debora Spar and Linda Bell, Barnard’s provost and dean of faculty.
Spar and Bell said that the dean of international and global strategy is a newly-created position in which Hollibaugh will “provide vision and strategy, engage collaboratively with faculty regarding international research, partnerships, and opportunities, organize all aspects of the our annual Global Symposium, and work on a variety of other programs and projects that enhance the educational and research experiences of students and faculty globally.”
Many students said they are happy about Hollibaugh’s new position, which begins June 1, but were sad that she will no longer advise first-year students after seven years in that role.
“She was such an integral part of my first-year experience that I can’t imagine going through it without her,” Malvina Kefalas, BC ’14 said. “I’m feeling extremely nostalgic for my first year. It makes me sad to think that incoming students can’t share in our communal love for her.”
Hollibaugh said in an email to Spectator that her time as first-year class dean has been an “incredible experience,” but she is looking forward to turning her attention to the world beyond Barnard’s gates.
“First-year students have a special place in my heart because they take such a big step in coming to Barnard and to New York, and no matter how well-suited and well-prepared they are for this campus, their first year is a challenging time as they learn what it means to be a student here,” Hollibaugh said.
“I have really appreciated the conversations that I’ve had with new students not only when they are excited and proud, but also when they are nervous and doubtful, and my hope is that I’ve been helpful to them as they’ve worked hard to build experience and confidence,” she added. “Now I’m looking forward to working with Barnard students at other moments and in other ways—no matter what stage of the journey they’re at, Barnard students are amazing people to work with.”
First-year international students said that they are happy to see Barnard working on increasing its international presence, and that charging Hollibaugh with that task is a step in the right direction.
“From my school in London, I’d like to say people are aware of what schools are available, and very few people know about Barnard, and I think that’s a real shame,” Sophie Lucy, BC ’17, said. “They really need to work on their international presence. People know about Columbia, but you have to explain what Barnard is, which is frustrating because it’s such a great school.”
“I think it’s such a pity because a lot of the girls I talk to back home who would have applied to a school like Barnard didn’t know about it,” Lucy added.
Zeynep Ejder, BC ’17 and an international student from Istanbul, said she learned about Barnard when former Dean of International Students Ani Bournoutian visited her high school.
“I wasn’t sure about applying, but after that session I was sure that I actually wanted to go and study at Barnard,” Ejden said, adding that she hopes Hollibaugh’s next role will involve more travel to foreign high schools.
Hollibaugh echoed Ejder’s and Lucy’s support for Barnard’s global outreach, saying that she is most looking forward to connecting with a global student network.
“I’m excited to support the work of our remarkable faculty and students as they continue important dialogues with colleagues and institutions from so many different cultures,” Hollibaugh said in her email.
Before starting her new position in June, which will involve moving from the Dean’s Office to the Provost’s Office, Hollibaugh will take on limited responsibilities of her new position this semester. Spar and Bell said that “first-year students will continue to be in her capable hands through the entire spring semester, during which the Dean of Studies will conduct a search for her replacement.”
The new administrative position was established shortly after Barnard’s announcement in November that it was reorganizing three of its international programming offices and appointing Gretchen Young as dean of international and intercultural students. Young is responsible for advising international students and study abroad students, while Hollibaugh will be charged with outlining the college’s long-term global strategy.
“It’s great that Barnard is becoming a more globally known school,” Naomi Boyce, BC ’14, said. “Obviously she’s done a great job as dean of first-years for the past seven years—she’s unanimously loved on campus. She’ll be missed by students as an advisor, but she’ll still be around and we’ll see her on campus. I’m happy she’s going on to do something new.”