“Mark Christel brings an impressive record of leadership and innovation to the Grinnell College Libraries,” says Michael E. Latham, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. “His experience in promoting student and faculty research, interdisciplinary digital initiatives, external grants and collaborations, facilities design, and strategic planning makes him well-suited to this role.”
Christel served with distinction in previous positions at Hope College and Vassar College and as former director of libraries since 2008 at the College of Wooster in Ohio. He worked collaboratively with faculty, carefully stewarded collections, and championed technologies to promote open access and scholarship.
Christel succeeds Julia Bauder, who was named interim director of Grinnell’s libraries in October 2015 after Richard Fyffe, Samuel R. and Marie-Louise Rosenthal Librarian of the College and associate professor, began permanent medical leave. He died on Nov. 5, due to complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
“It is very humbling,” Christel says, “to follow in the footsteps of Richard Fyffe, a friend and colleague whom I greatly admired.”
Debra Lukehart joined the College staff on Sept. 6 as its new vice president for communications.
“Debra has the experience, expertise, and energy to build on the great work of the Communications team. I am looking forward to her joining Grinnell as part of the senior leadership team,” says President Raynard S. Kington.
Lukehart, formerly vice president of communications for Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, has more than 25 years of communications experience, including developing and implementing brand platforms, delivering full-service marketing communications solutions, deploying integrated marketing strategies, and managing oversight of multimedia and interactive programs. She has a bachelor’s in public relations from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Drake University. The Iowa native and her husband Oscar have a daughter, Anna, 10.
David Cook-Martín, professor of sociology, has been named assistant vice president for global education and senior international officer. He will lead Grinnell’s new Institute for Global Engagement and promote strategic planning for international education and external partnerships. The new institute assumes responsibilities formerly held by the Center for International Studies, which Cook-Martín led.
“We are collectively creating an organizational structure to empower students and faculty to very intentionally connect and engage with the world,” Cook-Martín says.
The institute’s work will allow Grinnell to hold a distinctive position in global education. This initiative was made possible by the generosity of Carolyn “Kay” Swartz Bucksbaum ’51.
Her recent $5 million gift created two endowments, one to create the senior international officer position and another to create a Global Distinctiveness Fund to support students and faculty through scholarships for global courses and language study, research initiatives, internships abroad, and international projects exploring global problems and challenges.