Bryn Mawr College announced that Karlene Burrell-McRae, former director of Makuu: The Black Cultural Center, will serve as the next dean of the undergraduate college.
Burrell-McRae became Makuu's founding director in 2000 and served in the role for several years. During her time at Penn, Burrel-McRae also received a doctorate in higher education, a Master of Social Work, and a Master of Science in education, and worked for 18 years in the Division of University Life.
An alumna of Colby College, Burrell-McRae will join Bryn Mawr after leaving her current role as Colby’s dean of the college. She has focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout her career, and launched a new DEI office while at Colby, according to Bryn Mawr.
Directly before working at Colby, Burrell-McRae was the University of Chicago’s associate dean of students and executive director of the Center for Identity + Inclusion. She was also the assistant dean of the college and director of the Black Cultural Center at Swarthmore College.
Bryn Mawr is one of four members of the Quaker Consortium, an arrangement among Penn, Bryn Mawr, Haverford College, and Swarthmore College to allow students to enroll in classes at the other schools.
Burrell-McRae’s appointment continues a trend of administration changes of Consortium schools in the past years. Haverford College’s President Wendy Raymond took on her role in 2019, and Haverford Dean of the College John McKnight assumed his role in 2021.
Penn has also experienced major changes in administration and new appointments in recent years. Liz Magill became Penn’s ninth president in July 2022, Beth Winkelstein is currently serving as interim provost, and positions including dean of admissions and interim vice provost of University Life have recently been filled with new administrators.
In 2009, Burrell-McRae gave Penn Today an interview regarding her role with Makuu and her aspirations for the future. She concluded her interview by laying out some of her personal goals for the future. “I’d like to be a Dean of students or a President someplace,” she claimed.