This fall, Knox hired its first full time Director of the Stellyes Center for Global Education. Coming to Knox from Monmouth College, Bren Tooley brings 25 years of teaching and administrative experience.
Over the past four years, working with the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Syria Consortium for Higher Education in Syria, Tooley has helped bring 19 Syrian students to higher education schools in the United States. In her short time as the new director at Knox, she has already helped Knox become an IIE member and expects that students could begin arriving through the program as soon as Winter Term.
Tooley is familiar with Knox from her extensive experience inside the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM). She spent 14 years at Colorado College, where she taught 18th century British literature and later transitioned in an administrative role as an associate dean. Afterward, she spent three years at Cornell College and eight at Monmouth College.
When she saw the opening at Knox, “It felt … like a door opening,” said Tooley.
In addition to the new IIE membership, Tooley wants to stress a greater understanding of her department beyond study abroad.
“I know how study abroad, and international experience more generally, really does change lives,” Tooley said, adding, “I’ve seen it.”
However, Tooley does not want students to get the impression that study abroad is the only form of international involvement available to them. Not everyone can, or wishes, to study abroad in the traditional manner and she hopes the center can be a resource in offering what she called “other forms of engagement.”
“I really care about international education as a form of diplomacy,” Tooley said.
Tooley said her year has been in a “whirlwind as the term begins.” As for her plans for the year, Tooley intends to focus on meeting people and learning how administration works.
“I don’t want to stop learning,” Tooley said. “This just felt right.”