Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
In this series of profiles, the Daily Gazette seeks to better acquaint Swarthmore students with their most underutilized resource..the Deans! In this
Name: Tim Sams
Position: Associate Dean and Director of Black Cultural Center
Daily Gazette: What does it mean to be the Assistant Dean and Director of the Black Cultural Center?
Tim Sams: I oversee academic, behavioral, social, and judicial things as a class dean, and as the Director of the BCC, I oversee some Black student organizations and insure that the BCC remains a resource for all of campus.
DG: When should a student come to see you?
TS: A student should come to see me for a whole host of things. I am most delighted to see students thinking about life in the real world, but I see students about their relationships (with significant others and family) as well as about graduate school. Sometimes just to talk about intelligent ideas or to work on or learn about Black folks and their issues and concerns.
DG: Who should students contact to meet with you?
TS:Students should contact Bonnie Lytle at extension 8456 or dlytle1. I’m a dean for every student, and it’s important to me that every student knows I’m here.
DG: Was there something specific that attracted you to becoming a dean?
TS: I was at Williams and I loved the students, the college, and the job. Two things functioned as a push factor out of Williams. First of all, I wanted a wife and second of all, I wanted to work on my doctorate. The Philadelphia region has more potential wives and more graduate programs than the area in which Williams is located. I always wanted to go to Temple for my doctorate. Because I enjoyed working at Williams and because of the talent of the student body, I wanted to find a similar college. I also did not want to work at a poor college because I didn’t want to be relegated to a person who is constantly trying to fundraise. Honestly, I didn’t expect to like this place as much as Williams, but I love Swarthmore because of the students.
I stay here because I love the students, and I have a fear that if I go somewhere else, I will find students who are not as interested in social justice. I would say that a larger percent of students at Swarthmore are interested in social justice. Williams students want to rule the world, but Swarthmore students want to deconstruct, analyze, and save it.
DG: What kind of advice would you give to first year students?
TS: Work as hard as you can, then decide the intensity with which you want to do Swarthmore. Get a sense of how well you can do by putting yourself all out there. Then look at the opportunities at this school including internships and scholarships. Decide whether or not you want to try for those.
A student will serve him or herself best if he or she keeps every possibility open and then decides to close doors.
Also, be nice to everyone you meet because it might be just enough to get them through the Swarthmore grind.
DG: On a final note, what is your favorite food?
TS: An Ethiopian dish called Yedoro Spinach. My favorite dessert is Red Velvet cake.