Betsy Sandlin to serve as liaison between Posse Foundation and University

By Rego Jaquish
Contributing Writer

Dr. Betsy Sandlin, associate professor of Spanish and co-director for the Center of Teaching, has been a member of the Sewanee faculty for 15 years. She has taught multiple levels of Spanish and served as a member of the Center for Teaching, which helps to provide resources and training for the Sewanee faculty. Now, she has taken on a new role as Sewanee’s interim associate dean for faculty development and inclusion as Posse liaison.

“There is a fear of bringing new people in programs that have been running; especially questions around their understanding of the program’s mission and how they add to it,” said Eunice Muchemi (C’19), alumna and former Posse scholar. “However, it’s always refreshing to bring in new ideas from new mentors who are willing to put in the work to be great role models.” 

According to an email sent by Dean of the College, Terry Papillon, on September 9, Sandlin will work with Director of Campus Life, Barbara Banks, professor of rhetoric and American studies, Dr. Sean O’Rourke, and associate professor of mathematics, Dr. Doug Drinen, to help ensure a smooth experience for Posse scholars.

The Posse Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering diverse groups of students across the country to become the leaders of tomorrow. 

“Posse recruits students with diverse backgrounds and perspectives from some of the largest cities across the U.S,” said Adriana Jones-Quaidoo (C’20) and Calid Shorter (C’21), both Posse scholars for the University. 

Through leadership training and a supportive network, Posse sends dynamic cohorts of 10 to 11 students to some of the most renowned colleges and universities in the United States to cultivate solutions through their diverse experiences. Its Sewanee chapter is highly celebrated by many on campus, including Sandlin.

According to Posse Foundation’s website, “Posse believes that the leaders of the 21st century should reflect the country’s rich demographic mix. The key to a promising future for our nation rests on the ability of strong leaders from diverse backgrounds to develop consensus solutions to complex social problems.”

“I have been an admirer of the Posse Foundation for a very long time,” Sandlin said. “What really hooked me, though, was many years ago when a Posse scholar invited me to the annual Posse Plus Retreat. I loved the way members of the whole campus community came together in one big room to talk about really important issues like identity, social injustice, and social change.”

While she is new to the role, Dr. Sandlin already has a vision of what she wants to do with the program.

“I’m hopeful I can serve as a source of support to both our Posse scholars and our Posse campus mentors. My initial goals have included getting to know the program, understanding and learning as much as I can about my role within it, and getting to know the scholars,” Sandlin stated.

The most important thing Sandlin wants students to know is, “That we are so fortunate to have Posse on campus. The Posse scholars are incredible, committed leaders and amazing individuals.”