Fordham University Searches for New Assistant Dean for Juniors


Dean William Gould, pictured above, retired in December 2020 after nearly 20 years at Fordham (Courtesy of William Gould).

Dean William Gould, who had been assistant dean of juniors at Rose Hill for nearly 20 years, retired at the end of December 2020. Gould also taught classes in the political science department, College Honors Program and American Catholic Studies.

“It was a big part of my Fordham experience,” said Gould about teaching students. “I’m glad I did it. I enjoyed it very much.” He said teaching students gave him a perspective on Fordham students outside the context of the dean’s office. 

Connecting with students was an important and gratifying aspect of the job for the former dean of juniors. “I liked working with students. I had been a teacher, primarily, before I took the job, and I’d always liked office hours,” he said. Gould stated that he made many lasting connections with students over the years. He narrated the following event when remembering his former students: “My sister threw a party for me for my 60th birthday, in the D.C. area, and a very sizable number of people that came to that were former Fordham students. I have a very high opinion of Fordham students and recent Fordham graduates.” 

Over his nineteen-and-a-half years at Fordham University, Dean Gould experienced many historic moments for New York residents, including the Northeast blackout of 2003, in which, according to CBS, a large portion of the Northeast United States including New York  suffered the “biggest power outage in U.S. history.” In his first year working at Fordham, Dean Gould also experienced the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center. “I was there when 9/11 happened,” recounted Gould. “It was quite extraordinary, realizing that we were under attack … I remember going up to the sixth floor of O’Hare — then called Millennium — and I could see the smoke and everything.”

In his last year at Fordham, Dean Gould experienced another once-in-a-lifetime event in New York: the COVID-19 pandemic. “A lot of things were altered,” said Gould about working at Fordham during the pandemic. “It was a very different experience… It was isolating for a lot of people.” He described the difficulties that many of his students experienced, such as familial losses due to the pandemic and economic hardships. 

He did not forget the smaller losses caused by the pandemic, such as graduation.

“I used to read about half the names of the graduates at what’s called the diploma ceremony, which is after the big graduation ceremony, the actual giving of the diplomas, announcing the students’ names,” he said. “Well, we didn’t have any of that last year, and it was very sad for the seniors. They’d been so used to thinking of those celebratory events they were going to experience, and all that was taken away.” 

Gould, who had originally announced an intention to retire in February 2020, had stayed on for the fall semester due to the difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic. Maura Mast, Dean of Fordham College of Rose Hill, said about his staying on for the semester, “It allowed the continuity for us to get through the semester, making the transition over the break was a lot easier.” The university currently has a national search active along various job banks and will begin interviewing candidates for the position of dean of juniors at Rose Hill in the next couple of weeks. 

“In a way, [interviewing in the pandemic] is easier, because if someone’s coming to interview, we don’t fly anyone in right now, we just do it by Zoom, so in a sense that’s easier. It is of course more difficult to interview someone by Zoom,” said Mast. Concerns about the hiring process also include the difficulty of prospective hirees moving during the pandemic and the possibility that the new dean will have to start virtually.

“I had so much respect for Dean Gould,” said Dean Mast. “He was really kind of an advisor, teacher, scholar, very wise, very compassionate. He loved talking to students. He loved the teaching that he did in the honors program.”