MIT dean to join University as VP, Associate Dean in CollegeMichael Behnke, dean of admissions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been appointed Vice President and Associate Dean of the College for Enrollment, President Sonnenschein announced.
Although his position is formally effective July 1, he will be a frequent visitor on campus in the intervening months, Sonnenschein said.
"Michael will play a key role in enabling us to make the extraordinary education of our College accessible to more of the very best students," Sonnenschein said. "He has a deep appreciation of the special character of the College, and I am confident that he will fill this new post with distinction. I know that Dean John Boyer and other faculty and staff of the College who met with Mr. Behnke share this expectation."
Before joining MIT in 1985, Behnke was dean of undergraduate admissions at Tufts University. He previously was associate dean of admissions and dean of freshmen at Amherst College, from 1971 to 1976.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for someone in my field," Behnke said. "The University of Chicago is one of the great universities of the world. To be part of strengthening the College in order to ensure the future greatness of the University is an honor, and I feel privileged to have been called to this work. Doing it in a way that will maintain the special character of the educational experience at Chicago will be a challenge, but one that I believe can be met.
"On a more personal level, I want to continue to be part of a place that values its students. I am impressed by the unanimous desire to attract more of the kind of students who thrive at Chicago now -- those whose overriding desire is to have a rigorous, interactive intellectual experience," he said.
"The members of the faculty and administration with whom I met showed a very appealing combination of candor about the challenges the University of Chicago faces and an obvious love of the place and pride in the special role it continues to play in higher education. My wife, Lee, and I look forward to being part of that community."
Behnke received his A.B. in 1965 from Amherst College and his MA. in 1970 from the University of Pennsylvania. He spent several years in his early career as a teacher, including two years as a Peace Corps teacher in Sierra Leone.
He has been a trustee of the College Entrance Examination Board and is currently serving as vice chair of its Guidance and Admissions Assembly. He is an advisor on admission to higher education for the National Governors' Association and a member of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors. He has served as a member of the scholarship selection committees of several corporations.
He has contributed articles to several publications on college admissions, including "Fifty Years of Change on Campus," the introduction to the 50th-anniversary volume of The College Handbook (1990).
"Michael Behnke has compiled an extremely impressive record of professional success," Boyer said. "He is a person who understands the special quality of our students and the special educational values that the College has always advocated and represented. I am confident that Michael will provide strong and enlightened leadership for the very important work of our Office of Admissions and our Office of Financial Aid in the years to come."