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GS Dean of Students Scott H. Resigns

GS’s Dean of Students, Scott Halvorson, resigned today in order to return “to his first love, writing.” Halvorson actually got an MFA from SoA in 2001, and has won some awards from his screenwriting. So he’s going back to that.

At least he isn’t going to Stanford. (/USNews)

Dear Students,

It is with mixed emotions that I write today.  Dean Scott Halvorson will be ending his long and distinguished career at GS.   Dean Halvorson has been considering for some time returning to his first love, writing.  As some of you know, Dean Halvorson earned his MFA at Columbia’s School of the Arts in 2001, with a specialization in screenwriting and won several awards for his work.

As his responsibilities at GS continued to grow, he found that he had less and less time to devote to his writing.  Consequently, he has decided that, after 15 years at GS, it is time for him to focus more intensely on his craft.

While working on his graduate degree, Scott Halvorson joined the GS team in 1997 as Assistant Director of the New York State funded Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and Manager of the Learning Center.  That same year he was promoted to Assistant Dean, where he continued to advise students and also ran the Program for Academic Leadership and Service (PALS), which took the place of HEOP, and the government funded Global Scholars Program.  In 2003, Dean Halvorson was appointed Associate Dean of Students by the then Dean of Students, Dr. Mary McGee.  On her resignation in 2008, Dean Halvorson was appointed Acting Dean and then in 2010, after a robust search, he was appointed permanent Dean of Students.  During his tenure, he has also taught University Writing and courses in the School of the Arts.

Scott Halvorson’s contributions to the lives of GS students and to GS have been profound.  One need only speak to the many students and alumni for whom he has been a compassionate and insightful advisor.  All of us at GS are grateful to him for his teamwork and collegiality.  While we will miss having Dean Halvorson as part of the Columbia community, we are excited for him as he returns to his writing career.

Please join me in wishing Dean Scott Halvorson the very best for the future.  I will be in touch in the very near future with information about the process to find Dean Halvorson’s successor.


Peter J. Awn


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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous AT LAST, JUSTICE! I can’t tell you how many of my friends have been insulted by this man who has the IQ of a dried peanut. He’s the slowest, most spineless, insensitive, unhelpful, miserable human being. GS just became a much MUCH better place. Now Halvorson, go back to whatever white trash cave you crawled here from.

    1. hmm says:

      @hmm Do succulent peanuts have higher intelligence quotients than dried peanuts? I’d like to see the evidence.

  • He wasn't forced out by Class Day says:

    @He wasn't forced out by Class Day It was time for him to go because they are going to try to fold GS Student Affairs under the Kevin Shollenberger. Plan’s been in the works for years now.

    “The Task Force concluded their report with the suggestion that, as happened with the creation of the Office of Student Affairs, GS student services could be integrated with those of CC and SEAS.”

  • CC'11 says:

    @CC'11 I think it’s pretty clear he was forced out as part of the class day fiasco, either for resolving it poorly or objecting too strongly when it was decided they were going to get the axe.

    There’s sort of a reverse Halon’s razor for organizations, where you should never attribute to spending more time with family/other projects what can adequately be explained by petty bullshit.

    1. *Hanlon's says:

      @*Hanlon's also, Occam’s applies as well

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I honestly haven’t heard anything about it being his or the DofS office’s fault. It seems to be public safety & admin over in Low.

      I don’t see them having such a large sacrificial lamb at this point.

      That said, I didn’t really get the impression he was doing much that a dozen other GS staff couldn’t do just as well. Hard to care, when few students know or care about the dean of students.

    3. ... says:

      @... or maybe it was just too frustrating and taxing to run as a buffer between the marginalizers and the marginalizees… or maybe he was just ready to move on…

      it does ring with a bit of a “we will coordinate our statements to the least detriment of everyone” though, hard to say if it’s true though.

      i never really knew him. he had a bit of an imposing, authoritarian hardass tone when he spoke publicly, but i was never sure if that was just his public speaking voice or reflective of his personality and how he engaged with people one on one.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous He’ll be remembered by many students as a largely ineffectual administrator who was gone for most last semester for medical reasons and whose purpose at Columbia was dubious at best.

  • Celebrating over here says:

    @Celebrating over here The guy was a pompous fuck. Really can’t foresee the replacement managing to be as bad as Halvorson.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Yeah. Not to speak ill of someone who’s gone, but his apology at the GSSC meeting for Class Day was supposedly uncharacteristic.

      1. Yup says:

        @Yup I actually thought he had the most earnest apology…

        possibly because he knew he was leaving anyways and had no need to kowtow to the administration?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Is he staying on to teach?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous It appears not. He wrote a followup email, and includes this line: “…so I will be taking my affectionate leave of you all– and Columbia–on May 31.”

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