In more than three decades at Boston University, Anne Shea has seen the institution from all sides — she began her career here as a special assistant to the president, changed gears to become a patrol commander in the BU Police Department, and eventually became a part of the administration, first as an associate vice president of enrollment and student affairs and then in her current role as vice president of the office.
“I think that’s the exciting thing about being in a place like BU,” Shea says. “It’s a large community, and it’s so easy to take what you learn in one area and apply it in another.”
Now, after 11 years in her position, Shea will be bringing her years of experience to the offices of Executive Vice President Joseph Mercurio and President Robert A. Brown, with whom she will work on special research and policy projects. Laurie Pohl, an associate vice president of enrollment and student affairs, will take on the leadership of the department as of February 1, 2007.
“Shea is a seasoned administrator who has the advantage of the institutional memory of Boston University,” says Mercurio. “She will bring to the table not only her organizational abilities, but also her history of how these processes or policies had previously evolved.”
Brown says that Shea has been “integral to the rapid rise in the quality of the Boston University undergraduate class,” and that Pohl brings to the position “a great understanding of the academic enterprise from her own higher education experience, her time at the University of Virginia, and her years at Boston University.”
Shea arrived at BU in 1973 as a special assistant to President Emeritus John Silber and returned to the University after several years away to become his chief of staff. She served in the BUPD from 1989 to 1992 and then moved to administration in Mercurio’s office. The transitions, she says, have prepared her for her next move, and her experience in different areas of the University has made her certain that BU is “poised on the threshold of the next generation.”
“We have really dramatically improved the quality of our students here,” she says. “And it is the result of the reputation of the University beginning to catch up with the reality that those of us who have been here any amount of time can see.”
Shea also cites her “incredibly talented staff” as a significant factor in student recruitment and retention — a staff that includes Pohl, whom she recruited from the University of Virginia three years ago. A former scientific researcher with a doctorate in biophysical chemistry, Pohl says that she is looking forward to serving as a leader during a “tremendously exciting” time for BU.
“We really want to make BU a first-choice destination for a greater portion of the nation’s, and indeed the world’s, most qualified students,” she says. “That will require a lot of collaboration across the campus, with schools and colleges in particular. It’s how we convert recruits to enrolled students, and how we treat them once they’re here.”
Pohl attributes her understanding of student needs to her ongoing experience in academia — she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in philosophy of science at BU. Being a student as well as an administrator, she says, has shaped her views on the BU student experience and helped her set priorities for the future of her office.
“It’s very much tied into what we’re thinking about in the general theme of One BU — that we’re all in this together,” Pohl says. “It’s how we talk about the centrality of the undergraduate experience in our recruitments and how we make good on our promises.”
Pohl’s colleagues say that the diversity of experience she brings to the administration makes her uniquely qualified for the position.
“She can see things from the academic side and the student side, she has an undergraduate degree in math and statistics, which I think is helpful for the kind of approaches we’re taking to try to optimize yield in admissions, and she very much wants to work with the academics,” says Gloria Waters, the dean of Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. “My sense is that it’s something she has a lot of energy for, and that she will really try to do.”
Jessica Ullian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.