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New Undergraduate Dean Appointed

May 04, 2023

To: The Campus Community
From: Kevin M. Gilmartin, Vice President for Student Affairs

I am pleased to announce that Jennifer Jahner, professor of English, has been appointed the dean of undergraduate students effective May 15, 2023. Jennifer is an accomplished scholar, a dedicated professor and advisor, an esteemed colleague, and a welcome addition to a student-focused administrative team. Since joining the Caltech faculty in 2012, she has demonstrated a strong professional and personal interest in fully engaging across campus, participating in teaching and research activities and co-curricular programs that enhance our residential educational experience.

Jennifer currently serves as co-chair of the HSS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, organizes the division's Literary Dimensions seminar, and co-organizes both the James Michelin Distinguished Visitor writer-in-residence program and the Critical Intersections: Conversations on History, Race, and Science seminar series. She was the recipient of an Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology (ASCIT) teaching award in 2013 and the HSS Brass Division Teaching Award in 2016. And, most recently, Jennifer was given the HSS Brass Division Service Award in 2022 for her contributions to teaching and community service through work as a committee member, teacher, advisor, and editor, as well as through "her valuable mentorship of junior faculty and postdocs."

Her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and her understanding of individual and community well-being as a critical dimension of student success, will help guide Caltech's undergraduate academic and co-curricular support programs in the years ahead. I'm confident that current students and alumni who have benefited from Jen's remarkable care and dedication in the classroom will join me in welcoming this appointment.

I would also like to take this moment to thank Lesley Nye, the interim dean for undergraduate students, for her service and leadership within Student Affairs, particularly over these past three years as she stepped into the interim role. Lesley will be returning to her regular position as associate dean this month. She has been an invaluable support to myself, to the Student Affairs team, and to our undergraduate students, helping to guide undergraduate students and the student support services they access through the complex and multifaceted challenges of a pandemic, remote learning, and a return to campus residency and in-person learning.

I look forward to continuing my work with Lesley, and now in partnership with Jennifer, as we build on a shared, singular commitment to helping our extraordinary undergraduate students realize their full potential at Caltech and beyond. Please join me in thanking them both for their service and in welcoming them to their roles.