New Dean's Office Staff Members Provide Additional Support for Students

This fall, the dean's office welcomed new staff members who will provide additional support and resources for Swarthmore students. The dean's office advises students throughout their time at Swarthmore and supports programs to enrich academic, residential, and co-curricular activities on campus.

According to Dean of Students Liz Braun, while the number of new hires is unusual the positions they fill are essential. After a number of retirements, the dean's office took the opportunity to evaluate how best to serve current students, said Braun. After completing a needs assessment to identify areas and ways in which the dean's office could better support students, several pre-existing positions were reconfigured and a few others were added. Now, says Braun, "we've built a powerful and cohesive team." New staff members and their positions are introduced below.

Academic Support

Liz Derickson

Liz Derickson '01, assistant dean of academic affairs. Working with Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Diane Anderson, Derickson is a key resource for supporting students' academic progress. In addition to one-on-one academic advising for students, Derickson oversees peer tutoring and develops plans and resources for learning support.

Residential Life

Lili Rodriguez

Liliana "Lili" Rodriguez, associate dean of diversity, inclusion, and community development. Overseeing a number of campus programs, including Residential Life, Greek Life, New Student Orientation, International Student Advising, Religious and Spiritual Life, and Student Activities, Rodriguez collaborates with her colleagues to promote and enhance Swarthmore's inclusive and intentional community. Rodriguez works with diverse student groups, oversees events like the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Observance, and provides resources for faculty and staff on how best to support a diverse student body.

Nina Harris

Nina Harris, sexual assault survivor advocate and educator. Harris serves as an advocate and resource for survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment. In addition to helping individuals, Harris will also be working to expand Swarthmore's prevention education and programming related to sexual misconduct.

Mike Elias

Mike Elias, student activities coordinator. Elias helps students develop their skills to be effective campus leaders, advising student organizations and the fraternities. Overseeing "all things social," as described by Dean Braun, Elias also manages party permits, student social spaces, and student events, collaborating with students to plan safe and responsible social functions.

Allie Emmerich

Allie Emmerich, student activities event planner. Emmerich provides support to Mike Elias and works with student organizations on events and activities.

Charlie Huntington

Charlie Huntington '12, graduate assistant in residential life. Huntington's primary focus is working closely with the resident assistants (RAs) as an adviser and resource to address the significant work of supporting students on a residential campus.

Co-Curricular Activities

Nathan Miller

Nathan Miller, dean of the senior class and judicial affairs coordinator. Miller supports members of the senior class through their final year on campus, offering assistance with applications for fellowships and grants and advice on making important decisions about students' next steps after Swarthmore. Also charged with coordinating judicial affairs, Miller oversees the disciplinary process for Student Code of Conduct violations.

Brianna SerranoBrianna Serrano, program administrator of the Intercultural Center (IC). Serrano will work closely with the new director of the IC to plan programs and events to build community among and between students of diverse heritages. She advises students groups involved with the work of the IC including the Swarthmore Asian Organization, Swarthmore Queer Union, and the Class Awareness Month committee.


Searches are underway for three open positions. Two of these positions, alcohol and other drug counselor/educator and a grievance adviser and community educator, either have been filled or will be by the end of the fall semester. Updates will follow in the next Parents newsletter. A search for a new dean of the sophomore class and director of the Intercultural Center will be launched in November with a goal of bringing finalists to campus in April. Darryl Smaw (who formerly served as associate dean for multicultural affairs at the College) is currently serving as the interim director of the Intercultural Center for the 2013-14 academic year.

Dean Braun is pleased with her office's "nice balance of experience." New staff have brought an "infusion of new ideas" while long-term staff members bring not just ideas, but deep familiarity with how best to serve the needs of the campus. Parents with questions or concerns for the dean's office can call (610) 328-8365 or email