Interim Director of Advising Programs Inge-Lise Ameer, who served a crucial role in the re-creation of undergraduate advising at Harvard, will leave for Dartmouth on August 6.
Ameer, who also served as the assistant dean of the Advising Programs Office, will assume an associate deanship at Dartmouth, where she will have purview over the undergraduate deans, the Office of Pluralism and Leadership, the Academic Skills Center, Student Accessibility Services, and the Office of Career Services.
The College has already begun a search to appoint a new director to the Advising Programs Office and is discussing "interim plans" for the office until an appointment is made, according to Faculty of Arts and Sciences spokesperson Jeff Neal.
"We have already begun a search to appoint a new director to the Advising Programs Office and are discussing interim plans for the APO until a new director can be appointed," according to Jeff Neal, spokesperson for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
At Harvard, Ameer collaborated heavily with Monique Rinere, the former associate dean of advising programs, to enact sweeping changes in academic advising at the College. The pair focused on centralizing oft-sprawling sets of information into a more student-friendly, navigable system—as exemplified in the creation of the advising network portal.
With the help of outgoing Faculty of Arts and Sciences Registrar Barry S. Kane, Ameer and Rinere pushed the creation of the portal, which provides online access to student information for undergraduates, their advisers, and their professors.
“That was one of the best days ever when the Portal went live for freshmen,” recalled Ameer, who eventually took charge of advising when Rinere left for Columbia a year ago. “That changed the nature of advising.”
Ameer was also involved in the 2006 move away from using unpaid Prefects. While many had reached the consensus that the Prefect program had fatal flaws, some students had concerns that the positive aspects of the program would get lost in the overhaul. By facilitating discussions between administrators and students about reforming the Prefect program, Ameer proved instrumental in carving out what ultimately became the current Peer Advising Fellow program, according to Aaron D. Chadbourne ’06, then-student chair of the now-defunct Student Affairs Committee.
“I am confident that it wouldn’t have gone as smoothly without [Ameer],” said Chadbourne, a proctor who is currently jointly enrolled at the Law and Business schools. "She was always very talented at finding a way around roadblocks.”
As a result of the move, the Advising Programs Office fell subject to criticism, particularly during the budget crunch that plagued the past few years. Some community members opposed a fundamental feature of the reformed peer advising program, in which each PAF receives $1,000 for his or her year of advising—intended to attract a more diverse crop of advisers.
But the program has received positive feedback in advising survey results, and former Dean of the College David R. Pilbeam wrote in an e-mailed statement that "we now have what is arguably one of the best advising systems" as a result of Ameer's critical role in its development.
In addition to her work with advising, Ameer served as the administration's point person for the inaugural January Term last year. The month-long break between first and second semesters was originally envisioned as a time for students to explore a diverse range of interests, but budget concerns prevented an expansive program. Ameer came to oversee the limited programming, which permitted specific categories of students to stay on campus, including certain varsity sports teams and thesis writers.
“I think we did the best we could given the circumstances we were under,” said Ameer, who hopes that programming for J-Term continues to expand and that eventually, students will use the period to explore a variety of activities away from campus.
“I think Harvard is a wonderful place, but it’s also good to leave it,” Ameer said.
Ameer’s colleagues and superiors praised her dedication to the student body at Harvard.
“Inge has given an enormous amount of time and effort to advising undergraduates—from her work in the English department to her years at the college,” wrote Benedict H. Gross ’71, to whom Ameer reported when he served as Dean of the College, in an e-mailed statement. “She knows what works, and has the skill to make it happen. Dartmouth is lucky to be getting her.”
According to students to who worked with Ameer, she created a congenial work environment and was adept at bringing students to administrators’ table. Chadbourne said that Ameer once canceled a meeting just so that she would be able to speak with him.
“I think she has seen a lot of Harvard students as her friends and family," Chadbourne said. "And in a college administrator it is rare and unique to find someone who has such a personal connection to the people they work with."
“Dean Ameer is a wonderfully supportive boss and colleague who encourages innovation and always reminds us to keep the welfare of our students first and foremost,” Brooks Lambert-Sluder, program manager for the PAFs program, wrote in an e-mailed statement. “This will make our drive to have the best advising program of our peers all the more difficult, since Dartmouth now has this advantage!”
—Staff writer Eric P. Newcomer can be reached at email@example.com.
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