Chris Clarke replaced Chris Card as VP for Student Life, Brittany Bell appointed to Dean of Students

Photo of Dean of Students Brittany Bell. Headshot taken from SmugMug.

Dr. Brittany Bell has been appointed Dean of Students after serving for eight months as the Associate Dean of Diversity, Engagement and Student Leadership, and three years as the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Diversity and Intercultural Center, while former Dean of Students Chris Clarke has assumed the role of Interim Vice President for Student Life. 

As Dean of Students, Bell will oversee campus events and help students outside of the classroom by connecting them to essential resources, as well as generally providing assistance, advocacy and support to the student body. Clarke will advocate for students while serving the goals and philosophy of the University as Vice President for Student Life. 

Bell and Clarke formally accepted their new positions in August, but Clarke had served as Interim Vice President for Student Life since former Vice President for Student Life Chris Card stepped down in July. 

Photo of Dean of Students Brittany Bell. Headshot taken from SmugMug.

Bell stated that she looks forward to acquainting herself with the student body and recognizes that understanding students’ experiences will be a crucial aspect of her new position. 

“Being in this role allows me to learn, both on the co-curricular and student life side as well as the academic side, and I think that helps us continue to understand the entire student experience,” Bell said. 

While Bell admitted that several administrative positions are currently vacant, she sees this as an opportunity for a fresh start rather than a topic of concern. She is confident that these jobs will attract passionate team members who will help the current administration fulfill its mission and achieve its goals for the future. 

“I’ve always been a person who enjoys being a part of different new challenges,” Bell said. “I wanted to be a part of the new incoming leadership and all that they’ve planned for our students.” 

According to Bell, the new administration is taking a collaborative approach to ensure that a wider range of voices is heard. She applauded her colleagues’ investment in students’ success, stating that passionate leaders help students, faculty and administrators alike reach their full potential. 

Bell also emphasized that her strategy involves supporting staff members as well as students. She believes that the administration and faculty cannot support the students unless the institution itself is properly supported. 

“It’s not just my vision; it’s our campus community’s collective vision for what Lawrence looks like,” Bell said. “That strategic business really sets the tone for where our future is heading.” 

Clarke stated that his new position is a welcome opportunity. He looks forward to fostering a more robust student life experience and making student life a comprehensive experience that combines the academics with the co-curricular. 

He credited his colleagues, such as Bell, Dean of Wellness Richard Jazdzewski and Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life Linda Morgan-Clement, for creating a strong core of leadership. He also praised the incoming staff members’ passion for student success. 

“I have a strong affinity for what a liberal arts education should be,” Clarke said. “The classroom is a huge part of that, but what happens outside the classroom – making sure that students are having an incredible experience where they can grow and develop – is my passion.” 

Clarke expressed pride in Lawrence’s ranking as the number one liberal arts institution in Wisconsin and aims to help Lawrence become a bigger player on the national and international level through the administration’s new initiatives. Above all, he wants to help students bring fresh ideas and create new memories in a supportive environment during their time at Lawrence. 

“We’re here to help them through the hard times,” Clarke said, “but we’re there to celebrate the good times as well.”