Karlene Burrell-McRae

Dean of the College
Colby College

Dean of the College Karlene Burrell-McRae works collaboratively with the president, other senior officers, and faculty to provide leadership and promote the vision of a fully integrated student experience, combining the curricular and co-curricular dimensions of student life illuminating the connection between students’ intellectual and personal development. Dean Burrell-McRae leads new and existing initiatives to foster a diverse and inclusive community. Finally, in partnership with faculty, she spearheads Colby’s civic engagement efforts. Before joining Colby, she was the associate dean of students and executive director of the Center for Identity + Inclusion, which included the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the LGBTQ Student Life Office, and the Office of Student Support Services, which focused on first generation, lower income, and undocumented students’ experiences. Previously, she served as the assistant dean and director of Black Cultural Center at Swarthmore College. Prior to Swarthmore, Dean Burrell-McRae spent 18 years at the University of Pennsylvania, where she held numerous positions with increasing responsibility within the Division of University Life, including her role as the inaugural director of Makuu, the university’s Black cultural center. A self-described community builder and collaborator, she earned a doctorate in higher education, a master’s in social work, and a master’s of science in education from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a 1994 alumna of Colby and majored in anthropology.