After a competitive national search, we have chosen Brenda Ice to serve as the senior associate dean and senior director of the newly reorganized and expanded Office of Residential Life. Brenda is a visionary leader with more than twenty years of experience in higher education and an exceptional track record of leading capital projects, strategic planning, assessment management, policy development, budget management, crisis and case management, and systems implementation all in service to student learning and support.
Brenda will be joining Brown from Scripps College where she has served as the Assistant Dean and Director of Campus Life since 2017. During her time at Scripps, Brenda led the reorganization of the professional and student staff roles in residential life in order to better align responsibilities and integrate the functions of residential life, student engagement, and campus life. She was instrumental in sustaining the student community -- keeping students engaged, connected, and supported -- through the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID pandemic.
Prior to her service at Scripps, Brenda served as the Assistant Dean of Campus Life at the University of California, Riverside where she was responsible for overseeing Residential Life, the Student Conduct and Academic Integrity Program, the Highlander Union Building operations, program and scheduling functions, Student Life, and the Associated Student Program Board. Brenda served as a member of the institutional student behavioral assessment team and crisis management team and managed special projects as assigned by the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.
As Associate Dean of Residential Facilities & Administration at Colgate University, Brenda created, launched, and grew a living learning program with a focus on the sophomore experience. Brenda assisted faculty members in creating the residential elements for the program, coordinated the selection process for participants, and worked with the capital projects team to transform a residential lounge into a state-of-the-art classroom space. Prior to her time at Colgate, Brenda served as the Assistant Director of Residence Life at Towson University and Director of Residence Life at Wilkes University.
Brenda holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Washington College and a master’s degree in Post-Secondary Education from Salisbury University. She is pursuing her doctorate in Student Affairs Administration and Leadership from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse.
Brenda has been selected to lead Residential Life at a pivotal moment for Brown’s reimagining of the undergraduate residential experience. With the implementation of an expanded and reimagined professional staff organization, Brenda will lead the development of a shared, coordinated set of structures, practices, and outcomes to support undergraduate students’ experience of inclusive communities that promote wellness, growth, development with a greater connection to the curricular and co-curricular experience. The new organizational structure includes Tracy Mansour as Director of Residential Operations; Sean Thompson as the Director of First Year Experience and Houses; Terrance Sanders as Director of Program and Theme Houses; and Scott Helfrich as Director of Upper-Division Houses.
Across the search and interview process, Brenda impressed us with a skillset and acumen applicable to all dimensions of this role: her ability to mentor, lead, and champion her staff, her strategic thinking and planning, her collaborative and committed approach to working with partners, her success as a change agent leading to better outcomes. And her focus -- at all times -- on advancing students’ belonging and learning as members of the university community.
Eric Estes, Vice President for Campus Life and Co-chair of the search committee shared, “Brenda rose to the top of a very talented pool of candidates. We were very impressed with her demonstrated track record related to organizational change and operational excellence. She understands well the opportunities that an inclusive residential experience with a strong connection to the academic and intellectual lives of students can create for their overall experience at Brown.”
We extend our deep thanks and appreciation to the members of the search committee: Caitlin O’Neill, Assistant Director, LGBTQ Center; Besenia Rodriguez, Deputy Dean of the College for Curriculum and Co-Curriculum; and Ciara Sing, Undergraduate Student. We also thank Paula Fazli of Sage Partners for supporting the search process.
Brenda will join Residential Life on September 27. Please join me in welcoming Brenda to the Division of Campus Life and to Brown.