Following a national search, Sterling College has appointed Yvette McDonnell as its Dean of Community and Work. In her new role, McDonnell will oversee a broad range of programs and services that support the well-being and holistic education of Sterling College students.

McDonnell, who recently moved to Vermont from Maine with her family, has over 15 years of progressive experience working in the field of student affairs in a multitude of roles. She has also taught cultural competency and first-year experience courses. She holds her Bachelor of Arts degree in Lusophone Studies (study of the Portuguese language and the countries that speak Portuguese) and her Master of Arts degree in Higher Education: Student Affairs with a focus on multiculturalism and diversity, both from the University of Connecticut.

As a member of the College’s senior leadership team, McDonnell will preside over Student Leadership programs, Residential Life, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Health and Counseling, Work Program, Student Activities, Athletics and Campus Safety, and will chair Community Council.  

“​It was remarkable and gratifying that such a strong and experienced group of candidates applied to become Sterling’s next Dean of Community and Work,” said President Matthew Derr. “Yvette stood out in a highly competitive process, through which students and faculty on the search committee, and in the community broadly, selected her for the depth of her experience and vision for this important leadership role. We are looking forward to the many contributions we know she will make to the growth and well-being of our community.”

Over the years, McDonnell’s experience has helped her to develop a unique way to approach the conversation regarding equity, privilege and inclusion that allows for self-reflection, community building and trust to be established even before speaking about race, class, religion and gender. “I have taught comprehensive cultural sensitivity classes and workshops that approach the conversation of diversity, multiculturalism and inclusivity in a safe manner. This allows participants to dive deep, look within and be more productive as change agents, not only in their respective working system settings but as human beings in general,” said McDonnell.

Sterling College is presently celebrating its 60th year. “We look to Yvette’s leadership to support the College’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by promoting education and programming focused on fostering a welcoming and just experience for all students,” said Thad Guldbrandsen, Sterling College trustee and chair of the Program Committee.  

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