Williams College Adds Two Posts, Eliminates One

By Susan BushPrint Story | Email Story
Williamstown – Williams College President Morton O. Schapiro announced several administrative-level job changes in an Aug. 24 letter sent to members of the college community. The changes are bringing two new posts to the college’s senior-level administrative tier while also eliminating the title last held by former college Vice-president of Administration and Treasurer Helen Ouellette. The changes came as a result of a review of the college’s “organizational structure” that followed the resignation of Ouellette earlier this year. "When reporting to you the interim arrangements after Helen Ouellette’s leaving, I pointed out that such an opening at a senior level afforded an opportunity to think about our organizational structure and whether it was as efficient and effective as it could be,” Schapiro wrote. The “vice-president of administration and treasurer” will become “vice-president of operations,” according to Schapiro’s letter. Responsibilities associated with the new position include overseeing conferences, dining services, facilities, human resources, and additional non-financial business functions. College Provost Catharine Hill was named the college Chief Financial Officer, and the college Office of the Controller will report to Hill under the restructuring, Schapiro said in the letter. Previously, the Provost’s Office handled budgetary matters and the post held by Ouellette handled financial duties including financial management and accounting; those responsibilities are being consolidated and will now fall under Hill’s purview. Other responsibilities handled by Ouellette are being divided among several existing positions, the letter stated. College officials are launching a national search for qualified applicants for the Vice-president of Operations post as well as applicants for a newly-created Vice-president of Investments post. Search committees for the two jobs are being formed. The chairwoman for the vice-president of investments committee is Hill, while Thomas Kohut is heading the committee seeking a vice-president of operations. Jo Proctor of the college’s Office of Public Affairs said that the changes reflect a shift in the administrative structure of the college. “It’s a reorganization of responsibilities,” Proctor said during an Aug. 25 interview. “This is a management decision, not a financial one.” Ouellette’s resignation was announced on May 12. Ouellette had served as Williams College Vice-president of Administration and Treasurer since 1998, and said at the time of her resignation that she had no definite plans for the future but was considering several options. Susan Bush may be contacted via e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net or at 802-823-9367.
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Berkshires Beat: Berkshire Museum Starting Series of Renovations

Museum renovations

Construction fencing and heavy machinery will appear on South Street next week as the Berkshire Museum begins essential renovations. Together, three capital projects will preserve the 117-year-old museum structure and protect its unique collection of fine art, historical objects and scientific specimens for many years to come. Improvements include a modern sewer line, freight lift, and extensive waterproofing around the building’s basement level.

The lengthiest and most visible phase of construction will be the installation of a new sewer line to replace the original pipe installed when the historic institution was first built in 1903. The new plumbing will connect to the sewer main located under South Street. To make way for the new sewer line, Wally, the museum's beloved stegosaurus, was transported in April to Louis Paul Jonas Studios in New York for refurbishment. The fiberglass dinosaur will return when work on the front of the building concludes.

Over the coming months, crews will excavate around the museum’s basement level section by section to seal the building’s foundation with a new moisture barrier that will protect the community museum’s one-of-a-kind collection. Efforts are already underway to install a new freight lift to safely transport large objects from the museum's existing loading dock to the basement level and second floor. Elevator doors will be installed in a second-floor gallery, allowing for easier and safer movement of large-scale objects.

The museum’s doors are currently closed as part of state-wide efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, with the organization operating online instead. When the museum building reopens, construction is expected to have little impact on visitor experience. Temporary gallery closures will be shared in advance via the museum’s website.


Fraser installation

During this time of physical distancing, the Installation Space at 49 Eagle St. will be sharing a new installation virtually through a series of live broadcasts and streaming video on its website and social media. The installation opens with a reception streaming live to Facebook and Instagram at 6 p.m. Friday, May 29. It runs through July 5.

Nicholas Fraser's "Left Hanging" project transforms would-be love letters into meticulous shrines to longing and a monumental exercise in oversharing. He converts unanswered internet dating site messages, his failed efforts to spark a connection, into an intimate portrait whose tireless sense of hope and humor belies a weary awareness of the artificial, projected nature of these online communications. Each message is hand cut with the letters left attached and dangling. Some are warped and distorted, the stretched letters echoing the author’s initial efforts to shape the message for its intended recipient. Others are layered over images dense with competing texts. Legibility is thoroughly compromised, undermining attempts to decipher the message.

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