Just three weeks into her new role, Kamala C. Kiem, Clark’s new associate provost of student affairs and dean of students, has a message for the community she has embraced: “My highest aspiration is to cultivate a holistic experience that inspires every one of you to discover more about yourself and find your calling and for every student at Clark to feel love and joy here.”
On Jan. 21, Kiem released a video introducing herself and the Student Affairs team to Clark’s students. In it, she discusses her childhood growing up in Jamaica, and her multiple social identities from her time as an undergraduate student at Florida International University to her graduate school days at Michigan State University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and, finally, as a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
“I am proud of all of these experiences. I’m proud that my parents instilled the value of higher education in me when they never had the opportunity to live out that value in their own lives. It is these experiences that provide a window through which I aim to understand Clarkies’ stories deeply.”
Kiem joined Clark on Jan. 3, having held several leadership positions within student affairs at Fairfield University, serving as associate dean of students and director of student engagement for the past six years. Early in her career at Fairfield and previously at Smith College, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Kiem directed residence life activities.
Meet the Student Affairs and Dean of Students Teams
10 a.m. to Noon
Thursday, January 27
Red Square on the Clark Campus
Read about the Dean of Students Team
View Student Affairs Offices
Hello, Clarkies. My name is Kamala Kiem, your new dean of students. I’ve been anticipating your arrival, eager to immerse myself in your experience here at Clark. I hope to get a chance to meet you over the next few weeks and months, connecting with many of you to learn and understand firsthand what it means to be a Clarkie.
As your dean of students, my highest aspiration is to cultivate a fulfilling and holistic experience that inspires every one of you to discover more about yourself and find your calling, and for every student at Clark to feel love and joy here.
I am from Jamaica, a beautiful country. My family’s livelihood came from my mom and pop starting a banana chips company in a garage, which ultimately led us to building a mid-sized factory. When I was just 10 years old, a hurricane came and wiped out all of the bananas needed to make our banana chips. I witnessed my mom and pop overcoming a tremendous setback. The business was dealt a blow, and income suffered, but my parents persevered, and I saw how they pivoted in making another chip from flour and sugar that ultimately financially sustained us. I took the spirit of being an overcomer with me, and it drives my internal optimism, especially during hard times.
I’ve held, and still hold, various social identities. I experienced higher education as an international student, an athlete, a first-gen student, a student of color, a queer student, a first-year student, a transfer student, a commuter student, a residential student, and a graduate student. I am proud of all of these experiences. I’m proud that my parents instilled the value of higher education in me when they never had the opportunity to live out that value in their own lives. It is these experiences that provide a window through which I aim to understand Clarkies’ stories deeply.
I want to remind you that the Clark University Student Affairs team, including the Office of the Dean of Students, is here to support your success and ultimately facilitate a vibrant and robust student experience.
We created a special event for us to meet you and for you to meet us on Thursday, January 27, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Red Square. I hope to see you there.
To stay connected with you, I will be sending out a communication each Friday during the spring 2022 semester.
So on this note, Clarkies, I wish you all the best this semester and look forward to challenging convention and changing the world together.