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Keeley Named Interim Director Of The Office Of International Programs

CSOM Associate Dean Takes On New Responsibilities

Heights Editor

Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 20:01

Richard C. Keeley succeeded Bernd Widdig as interim director of the Office of International Programs and the McGillicuddy-Logue Center for Undergraduate Global Studies in mid-January. He was asked to serve in this capacity on an interim basis as Boston College searches for a full-time director. Keeley guesses that the search process should be completed by summertime, so the new director will be acclimated and prepared for the new position by fall.

A 1972 alumnus, Keeley has been undergraduate associate dean of the Carroll School of Management (CSOM) since 1995, having served four years as dean of administration. Since July of 2005, he has also served as director of programs at the University's Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics.

 Keeley's time as undergraduate dean of CSOM has given him a unique perspective on his new role.

 "I've come to know the range of programs," Keeley said of the process of approving students to go abroad. "I have also visited almost a dozen of the sites to meet with staff and faculty at the various schools abroad."

He also speaks with the students studying overseas, taking them out for meals in order to get a sense of how they are doing. Then he returns to Boston to report on the overseas campuses, giving on-the-ground verification that the programs and the schools are in fact helping and enriching the students' educations and transitions.

He has also had the advantage of being a parent in the process. Keeley has a son who has graduated from BC, a daughter who is currently a junior, and another son who is currently a freshman. As his children all hope to, or have already, gone abroad during their time at BC, he harbors a rare and profound desire to truly make the programs superior.

"As a consumer, an anxious parent, as a dean, and also as a representative, I have seen a fair amount," Keeley said.

On top of knowing most of the staff already, having a plethora of helpful prior professional experience, and observing the abroad process through the very transparent window of fatherhood, Keeley is surely up to the challenge of his appointment as interim director of the OIP.

The OIP is chiefly responsible for assisting BC students in their study abroad experiences. The office maintains a network of more than 60 academic partnerships in more than 30 countries worldwide and hosts more than 200 international exchange students annually from universities affiliated with BC worldwide.

Keeley's primary concern in his new endeavor is to oversee affairs in the administration.

"I am the kind of person to whom issues would flow if decisions could not be resolved at the level of international study advisor, although complications that cannot be resolved are rare," he said. "I would get only the really odd cases."

He also works as a resource for those involved with helping students plan for their time abroad.

"I would like to use this time to help all of us think how we can make operations better," Keeley said.

He added that many qualitative improvements have already been made in the past decade and that the study abroad programs at BC are excellently and smoothly run. The ways of promoting international education at BC are much more pronounced now than they were fifteen years ago. However, there are always ways to improve.

One of Keeley's broader goals is to improve international education at BC. He wants to find ways in which students who might not even think about the importance of going abroad can be convinced that it is something they should consider for their undergraduate education.

"It's conscious building and marketing," Keeley said.

Students who never even consider studying abroad as a possibility should come to some sessions, he argues, and at least think about it.

Although Keeley's new position is not his main job, he still devotes a portion of his day to ensuring all is well. He spends a couple of hours each day at the Hovey House as director of the OIP, and the rest of his time is devoted to CSOM.

As dean for undergraduate matters at the level of student services, he said, "I'm kind of a figurehead with a great office view."

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