Erin Brownlee Dell was named the next chief of staff and secretary of Swarthmore College, as announced by President Valerie Smith on Thursday, September 2.
"Erin’s experience, combined with the deep knowledge of higher education that she displayed through several conversations with faculty and staff colleagues, members of the Board of Managers, and me, set her apart from a remarkably strong pool of candidates," says Smith.
Dell most recently worked at Guilford College, a Quaker-founded liberal arts college in Greensboro, N.C., where she served in multiple roles during her 18-year tenure. As an associate academic dean, she worked closely with faculty, staff, and students and was integral to the success of a range of offices, including Guilford’s Library, the Multicultural Education Department, and experiential education, among others.
Dell also served on the college’s reaccreditation leadership team during successful reaccreditation initiatives in 2006 and 2016. And she sat on numerous institution-wide committees charged with overseeing a broad range of areas, such as college policy, strategic planning, enrollment management, student retention, international education, diversity, and space allocation.
In 2016, Dell was appointed as Guilford’s inaugural chief of staff and assistant secretary to the board of trustees. In that role, she helped oversee the administrative, operational, and financial affairs of the Office of the President. As a key member of the college’s leadership team, she served as a liaison between the Office of the President and all academic and administrative areas of the college. Dell also supported the college’s Board of Trustees, including by helping to guide the restructuring of board committees and the revision of its bylaws. Most recently, she helped lead the college through the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish from Kalamazoo College; a Master of Education, Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education; and a Ph.D. in Educational and Cultural Studies from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.