Portrait of Kelly Marcus standing in front of a wood-paneled wall

5 questions with…Kelly Marcus, secretary of the university faculty

Kelly Rindfleisch Marcus is the kind of person whose interests can only be described as “varied.”

“I have a personal saying. ‘I enjoy doing weird things with strange people,’” she said.

Rindfleisch Marcus is a small-time chicken farmer, mother, puppeteer, crisis victim actor and volunteer. As the recently appointed secretary of the university faculty, she brings her diverse set of skills and interests to that role.

Born and raised on the near west side of Cleveland, Rindfleisch Marcus comes from a family of educators. Her mother, grandmother [Florence Bierman (WRC ’34)], uncle and great aunt were all teachers in the Cleveland public schools.

But while Rindfleisch Marcus began her own career pursuing a degree in education, she soon found a new interest.

“I started taking science courses, and never stopped,” she said. “I fell in love with the molecular biology parts of science.”

Her love of science brought her to the campus of Case Western Reserve, where she worked for an outside company managing the sale of equipment and materials to research laboratories around campus. The operation grew into a $7 million business and helped her land a job as CWRU’s biochemistry stockroom manager. There, she developed relationships with the faculty she serves today.

In 2016, those relationships helped her transition to the Office of Faculty Senate and Emeriti Affairs, and last fall, Rindfleisch Marcus was appointed interim secretary of the university faculty.

“As an interim, I found Kelly to be highly professional,” said Charles Rozek, vice provost for graduate education and academic and faculty affairs. “She met all our expectations—such that when we opened a search for the permanent position, she became the lead candidate.”  

With the full support of those around her, she accepted the full-time role in December.

Rindfleisch Marcus’ new role as secretary of the university faculty requires a high degree of organization and order. It appeals to her diplomatic and process-oriented nature.

“I am very organized and I’m very technologically adept,” she said. Those skills help her guide the faculty’s 12 standing committees and ad-hoc committees so their policies and resolutions can be heard and enacted. Her role is to support and connect those committees, as well as the senate chair and vice chair, and give all faculty a voice with the administration.

“Those who have worked with Kelly praise the quality of her work,” Rozek said. “I am confident she will continue to meet all the challenges of the job and support those she represents.”

Rindfleisch Marcus’ service to the campus community does not stop with her role as secretary of the university faculty. She is also the director of emeriti affairs—a role she finds greatly fulfilling— deputy director of CWRU’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and a wellness champion.

All of these activities, along with her personal interests, help her feel connected to campus and to a greater purpose. Her volunteer work keeps her balanced and introduces her to people she may not have met otherwise.

In each of her roles, she said, “I enjoy getting to know people intensely in a short amount of time.” Now you can get to know her in this week’s five questions.

1. What’s your favorite restaurant in Cleveland?
ABC Tavern in Uptown. I was very sad when Ninja City left the area. It is so convenient to have so many fun options within walking distance. I try not to eat out too often, but Corbo’s definitely makes the dessert list.

2. What’s the most difficult class you’ve ever taken?
Biochemistry. I never thought I would pass that class, but it turned out to be my second favorite class ever. I also have a fondness for immunology. 

3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you pick?
I would live in Adventureland at Walt Disney World. It is a timeless place that my parents shared with me, and I am now able to share with my children and my father at the same time!

4. What famous person—alive or deceased—would you most like to meet?
I am torn between Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman. It would be a dream come true to show them both what their contributions to society have led to in this day and age. Just being in their presence and showing them what life is like because of their selflessness would be a beautiful moment.

5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?
Research! I started out working for a life science company on campus. I managed the biochemistry stockroom for several years before my current role. The dedication to research that our students, staff and faculty have toward making a better tomorrow is inspiring!