Mathis cuts short E. Wheelock post

Cutting short her scheduled term as Senior Faculty Associate of the East Wheelock cluster, Cleopatra Mathis will leave her post at the end of this academic year. Mathis will have served two of three years in the position originally designed by former Dean of the College Lee Pelton.

The previous Senior Faculty Associates, Leo Spitzer and Marianne Hirsch, left the program after only one year in 1997.

Mathis, who called heading the program “demanding,” said she does not think her departure will negatively effect the continuity of the program.

“The program is firmly in place,” she said, adding that Assistant Dean of the College Steve Cornish — who also heads the program — remains in his position.

Mathis also cited the past three years as helping to solidify the foundations of the program.

The East Wheelock program, which was envisioned by Pelton and enacted in 1996, cost the College $600,000 and aimed to integrate social and academic experiences in a dormitory setting.

As a faculty member in the English department, Mathis will continue teaching as well as concentrate on her work as a poet when she steps down next year.

Acting Dean of the College Dan Nelson credited Mathis with effective leadership of the East Wheelock cluster. He said her decision to resign was an appropriate one based on “personal and professional concerns.”

According to Nelson, Dartmouth intends to announce the new senior faculty associate by Spring term. The search will be an internal College search, Nelson said.

As the cluster’s faculty member, Mathis planned social programs for East Wheelock residents, organized the program’s budget and hosted many of the social and intellectual events in her home, located within the residence cluster.

Mathis described her work with the cluster as “exciting, productive, challenging and rewarding” and added that her interactions with students were the most gratifying part of the job.

With regards to her departure, Mathis felt it was time to return to her primary role as a professor.

“Through the fall, I missed teaching. I was very happy to get back into the classroom this winter, and I felt there was a place for me in the English department,” Mathis said.

Nelson praised Mathis and her husband William Phillips, who also served the cluster, in a letter to announce her resignation.

“[Mathis and Phillips] have been wonderfully creative and effective in enriching the residential experience of students and in promoting the intellectual life of the community,” he said.

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