Christopher F. Roellke named new Dean of the College at Vassar

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Professor of Education Christopher F. Roellke, a longtime Vassar College faculty member has been named the new Dean of the College, after serving as Acting Dean for the past several months. In his wide-ranging responsibilities, the Dean of the College assures a comprehensive and integrated approach to student life and services, both academic and social. That includes overseeing and coordinating such broad areas as residential life; academic advising; the campus health, dining, and security services; religious and spiritual life; services for students of color and LGBTQ students; student activities; and study abroad.

“Dean Roellke has been an outstanding member of the Vassar faculty since 1998 and is a highly respected scholar on the politics and economics of education, teacher education, and secondary education,” stated president Catharine Hill, when announcing the appointment. “I am very pleased to be able to continue working with Chris in this capacity.”

Christopher Roellke’s past administrative posts at Vassar include serving as chair of the Department of Education, Director of Academic Facilities Development, Director of the Ford Scholars Program, and Dean of Studies. He is also the founding director of the Vassar College Urban Education Initiative, an urban education outreach and professional development project funded by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, and Exploring College, a new college awareness and preparation program funded by the Dyson Foundation.

“I think the greatest challenge of my new position is the diversity of the portfolio and being able to be engaged in all of these domains effectively and intensively. That includes deep engagement with both students and the faculty,” noted Roellke. “What particularly appeals to me about this position is that it is so deeply embedded in the student experience. I feel this is a different form of pedagogy that is incredibly rewarding.”


Christopher F. Roellke earned a B.A. in political science from Wesleyan University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in educational administration from Cornell University. Prior to entering the doctoral program at Cornell, he taught secondary school history and social studies in rural, suburban, and urban settings. His research interests are in the politics and economics of education, teacher education and secondary school reform. His most recent publications include articles in: The Journal of Education Finance; Education and Urban Society; The Peabody Journal of Education; School Business Affairs; Education Finance and Policy; Leadership, Policy and Schools; The Teachers College Record; and The Economics of Education Review.

Roellke recently completed a multi-state study of teacher recruitment and retention policy funded by the Economic Policy Institute and the MetLife Foundation. He is co-editor (with Jennifer King Rice, University of Maryland) of the book series Research in Education Fiscal Policy and Practice: Local, National and Global Perspectives. Volume One on fiscal issues in urban schools was released in fall 2002 (IAP Press). The most recent volume in the series, High Stakes Accountability:  Implications for Resources and Capacity, was released last week. In 2005-06, Roellke was a visiting scholar at Yale Law School, conducting research on school finance litigation. He is also past president of the American Education Finance Association (AEFA).

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Tuesday, January 20, 2009