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reed magazine logoAutumn 2009

Reed Welcomes New Dean

Mike Brody

Call it the job that never sleeps. Overseeing the care and feeding of 1,350 Reedies must be one of the most challenging occupations we can think of, but Mike Brody, Reed’s new vice-president/dean of students, comes well prepared.

For starters, he’s a psychiatric nurse practitioner and was director of Reed’s health and counseling services for five years. He’s an expert in motivational interviewing, a counseling technique aimed at helping people change their behavior on their own terms. He holds a BA in rhetoric from UC Berkeley. And he only needs five or six hours of sleep a night.

What’s it like being dean, anyway? “I went to Cirque du Soleil last year and I saw this guy juggling twelve balls at once, which seems absurd, even impossible,” he says. “But you’d look at his face, and he was calm. Almost immobile. On a good day, being dean is like that—except that instead of balls, they’re eggs.”

Fortunately, Mike doesn’t have to do it alone. Reed now offers a range of student services unheard of in years past. The health and counseling center employs doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, psychologists, and counselors. The Dorothy Johansen House offers academic support from professional and peer tutors. The college also provides resources and programs in multicultural affairs, international student support, residence life, physical education, wellness, and nutrition—all designed to help students focus on their studies and promote their wellbeing.

Orchestrating this “profoundly collaborative” environment while working with the “extraordinary autonomy” of students is one of the things that most fascinates Mike about Reed—in addition to the perennial tension between freedom and safety.

On the lighter side, he was recently criticized in the Quest for buying a pepperoni pizza for the student senate (thus snubbing vegetarians). “I had to laugh,” he says. “I’ve been a vegetarian for twenty years. But I guess it’s flattering that students think I control the pizza that’s delivered to the senate.”

In an announcement confirming Mike’s appointment, president Colin Diver wrote that he had received an “overwhelming endorsement” from staff, faculty, trustees, and student leaders—pizza palaver notwithstanding. Welcome aboard, Mike, and please pass the anchovies.

calendar cover

Mark Your Calendar…

Yes, it’s fall (if you inhabit the northern hemisphere). Think leaves, apples, pumpkins, Oktoberfest, and—best of all—the 2010 Reed College calendar! Our theme for the next year is books— a thoroughly appropriate subject for Reedies. Look for it to appear in your mailbox soon.

reed magazine logoAutumn 2009