Deirdre Moloney will become the director of fellowship advising, effective July 1, the University announced on Friday afternoon.
Moloney currently leads the fellowship advising program at George Mason University, where she also directs an interdisciplinary research program and teaches in both the history department and the women and gender studies program.
Next year, the responsibility of postgraduate fellowship advising will transfer from the Office of the Dean of the College to the Office of International Programs. Moloney will take over fellowship advising from Associate Dean of the College Frank Ordiway ’81, who was fired last year despite his popularity with students. The University announced the creation of a new director position for fellowship advising in February. Ordiway will remain in his position through June.
Moloney said that the reorganization “highlights the fact that a lot of the fellowships are international and [students who go abroad] would be really interested in furthering that relationship. And I think academics is becoming increasingly global in nature, with a lot more collaboration.”
George Mason is a public university in Virginia with roughly 20,000 undergraduate students. Moloney created the school’s fellowship advising program in 2005. Since then, the school had its first-ever Rhodes Scholarship finalist.
Senior Associate Dean of the College Nancy Kanach, to whom Moloney will report, sent a memo to the faculty on Friday providing further information on the hire. In the memo, she said that Moloney has cultivated “strong relationships with individuals in the British and Irish embassies in Washington who have close links to the Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell and Gates Cambridge award programs, relationships that will continue to serve her well in her new role at Princeton.”
Though Moloney will not yet have officially assumed her new positition, she will come to campus in late April for a fellowship advising meeting with students. Beginning in July, Moloney will advise students selecting fellowship programs and will work with fellowship advisers to guide students through the application process. She will also recruit faculty members to serve as fellowship advisers.
Under the current arrangement, Ordiway is one of 12 fellowship advisers specializing in 20 fellowships. Ordiway advises half the fellowships himself, including the Gates, Marshall, Mitchell, Rhodes and Soros fellowships.
The OIP will help Moloney “set in motion the advising program she wants to create,” Kanach said in an e-mail to The Daily Princetonian, adding that “there is a lot of synergy between the OIP and fellowship advising. The OIP already coordinates the Fulbright Scholarship application process and the Ito Foundation grants, as well as some other undergraduate scholarships for study abroad. We send around 40 undergraduates to Oxford and other UK universities every year, which gives us a good understanding of the British educational system.”
Kanach said she may continue her current role advising the Fulbright and Ito fellowships, but she does not intend to personally provide more fellowship advising after the reorganization. She added that, as a former fellowship advising coordinator, “I stand ready to consult with [Moloney] as she works on developing fellowship advising at Princeton.”
Of 76 hopefuls who applied for the position by the end of February, four received interviews in March, Kanach said. Politics professor Melissa Lane, a British fellowship faculty adviser who served on the search committee, said, “We were all very impressed with [Moloney] … There was no dissension at any point.”
Lane said in the memo that she was excited to have Moloney come to campus. “I think it’s the combination of her success in doing this fellowship advising at a very high level and building a program that has become very successful,” she said, adding that, “I am especially struck by her articulate concern for ensuring that women and underrepresented minorities pursue the full range of fellowship opportunities.”
Moloney said that one strength of her advising will be her appoach of treating advising as a “form of teaching.”
“I have developed a real awareness on campus here about fellowships, about what a good match between someone’s short-term academic goals or medium-term academic goals and their career goals [is].”
She added that the University’s institutional support for fellowship advising will also help with her charge, noting that “it’s very clear from everybody that I’ve spoken to that there’s an enormous amount of support for this and where it fits into the whole educational mission.”
But Wilson School professor Stan Katz, who chairs Princeton’s Truman Scholarship selection committee, said that while the transition could go well, the absence of Classics professors Joshua Katz and Constanze Guthenke — who advise applicants for the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships and will be on leave in the fall — will provide an “immediate problem.” Joshua Katz is also a columnist for the ‘Prince.’
“I think there will be some growing pains here,” Stan Katz said.
He added that he had never met or heard of Moloney until he read the University’s announcement on its website and received Kanach’s memo. “She’s got [a] very solid scholarly background,” he said. “All that’s fine, and she sounds like a very competent person. My reaction is that she doesn’t appear to bring to it any direct experience in international fellowship programs.”
Katz expressed initial concern about Moloney’s apparent lack of international experience.
“What seems to me crucial for the upper end of these fellowships is experience abroad, and with elite institutions — particularly in the United Kingdom — which is what this office has mainly specialized in before,” he added. “But this could change.”