Dean of Students John Blackshear to leave Duke in January

Courtesy of John Blackshear.
Courtesy of John Blackshear.

John Blackshear, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, will leave Duke to become the inaugural vice president of student life at the University of Rochester, according to a Monday announcement by Mary McMahon, vice provost and vice president for student affairs.

Blackshear is set to begin his new position on Jan. 1. He will continue his responsibilities as Dean of Students throughout fall 2023. 

In his new position, Blackshear will focus on “aligning an array of academic and student affairs functions” among the University of Rochester’s various schools.

“While we're heartbroken to see Dr. Blackshear and his family leave Durham, we are thrilled for the entire Blackshear family as they embark on an exciting new adventure,” McMahon wrote. “John has been an incredible friend, source of inspiration and sage advisor to many. He leaves us all — students, colleagues, families, anyone with ties to Duke — far better for knowing him.”

Blackshear has been at Duke since 2001, initially joining Duke Counseling and Psychological Services as a staff psychologist. Since then, he has held various positions throughout University leadership, including as student ombudsman and clinical director of the Academic Resource Center and as an academic dean and dean of academic affairs at Trinity College. 

He has also taught forensic psychology at Duke for 13 years and will continue to teach the course this fall as scheduled, according to the email. 

Current and former first-years may recognize Blackshear in his role as a faculty in residence on East Campus, alongside his wife, Time Away Office Director Kimberly Blackshear. 

“They and their children have created a home away from home for what often feels like every single East Campus residence — inviting students into their home for Sunday donuts, to the patio for late night consultations on every possible topic and question and into the Trinity Common Room for their annual home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner,” McMahon wrote.

The Blackshears also created the Heaton-Blackshear Innovation Grant last spring, which “empowers Duke staff to develop innovative programs that serve the campus community.”

The University will name an interim dean in fall of 2023 and launch a national search for a successor in spring 2024.

The story was updated Monday afternoon to include the date of Blackshear's departure and the University's timeline to find a successor.


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Jazper Lu | Managing Editor

Jazper Lu is a Trinity junior and managing editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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Audrey Wang is a Trinity senior and data editor of The Chronicle's 120th volume. She was previously editor-in-chief for Volume 119.

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