Emerson named acting director of study away office

By Pete Prendergast ’16

Editor in Chief

In a recent email circulated amongst just the Trinity College faculty and Interim Deans of Faculty, Sonia Cardenas and Melanie Stein announced the resignation of Brandon Lussier, Director of the Office of Study Away.

Lussier began working in the Office of Study Away as Assistant Director in August of 2011.  At the start of the 2014 academic year, Lussier served as Associate Director, and in June of 2015 assumed the role of Director of the Office of Study Away.

In their email, Cardenas and Stein, “we are writing to inform you that Brandon Lussier has resigned, effective Friday, January 29th as Director of the Office of Study Away.”

During this transition, Stein and Cardenas have named Eleanor Emerson as Acting Director of the Office of Study Away.  Emerson who has worked in the Office of Study Away since 2007 brings a breadth of experience to the program, as she has previously worked with refugees seeking political asylum, as well as in the fields of educational travel and airline relations.

“We are grateful that Eleanor will serve in this capacity,” wrote Stein and Cardenas, “And we look forward to working with her-in partnership with faculty-to strengthen the College’s unique study away programs.”

When asked about Lussier’s resignation, Emerson explained that, “he was frustrated.  I don’t know all the details, but he was trying to get things done for our office and felt that he wasn’t able to do that.  It [Lussier’s departure] was amicable. It was his decision.”

Despite accepting her new role just days ago, Emerson has articulated a number of goals that the Office of Study Away is working towards, including improving the orientation system and moving more of the office’s services online.

Emerson also explained that the program would like to put more emphasis on the health and safety of student’s going abroad.  “The world is ever changing, and not always in a positive direction unfortunately and we’re hoping that that wont affect student’s desire to go abroad,” said Emerson, “But we’d like to educate them more on some of those issues that they will be facing abroad and also the systems that we have in place to keep them safe when they are abroad.”

The Study Away program is one of Trinity’s most popular draws and it offers programs in several locations, including Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Paris, Trinidad, Shanghai, Vienna and New York City and Rome.

“I think it [Study Away] is a main attraction for prospective students coming to Trinity because we have so many strong programs,” said Emerson, “I hear from students a lot that this is why they chose to go to Trinity.”

In considering who might be taped to take over as Director of the office, neither Cardenas nor Stein were available for comment.  However, it is clear that that the search for potential candidates will not commence until a new Dean of Faculty has been selected.

Although Trinity will not begin to coordinate a search for a new director until the roles of Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs are filled, Emerson has not ruled out the possibility of remaining in her new position.  “I want what’s best for the department and I think it would be great to do a national search. It would be good to get some fresh ideas, somebody who comes from a different type of organization that does study abroad,” Emerson said. “I love my job and I love this office. I love coming in and talking to students about traveling every day so I certainly would not discount the possibility of staying in this position.”​

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