The message below was sent by President Kim Cassidy on March 3
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
I am delighted to announce that Jennifer L. Walters, Associate Dean of the College for Community Life and Dean of Religious Life at Smith College, will assume the role of Dean of the Undergraduate College in late July. I want to thank the search committee, co-chaired by Pelema Morrice and Pam Gassman ’16, for its thorough and successful efforts.
The role of Dean is pivotal at Bryn Mawr, connecting our strong academic core to the lived curriculum of our campus community. Jennifer has deep experience supporting the intellectual, social, and physical well-being of diverse communities. I look forward to her leadership as we work with our students to shape the programs and environments in which they can embrace challenges and grow.
In addition to her current roles at Smith, Jennifer has served as the acting director of both the Office of Institutional Diversity and the Center for Community Collaboration. She has co-directed the Women's Narratives Project and worked with the Steinem Initiative to connect academics and women's social justice movements. She was also involved in developing new approaches to integrative learning using storytelling, reflection, and narrative writing.
Jennifer began her career in higher education as a mediator and advocate at Michigan State and later at the University of Michigan, where she served as the University Ombudsperson and co-taught multi-cultural health education and inter-group dialogue. Jennifer also worked for more than a decade as an HIV educator, counselor, organizer, and program director; she was a co-founder of the first New England conferences on women and AIDS and the first health and wellness programs for people with HIV.
Jennifer earned a doctorate of ministry from Episcopal Divinity School, master’s degrees from Boston College and Michigan State University, and a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University.
From a robust pool of applicants, Jennifer stood out to students, staff, and faculty alike as a candidate with a deep understanding of and commitment to inclusion, agency, and academic excellence. We were impressed by her ability to listen generously, to offer new ideas in a spirit of experimentation, and to approach each conversation with openness.
I want to thank Judy Balthazar, who has served as Interim Dean for the past three years. Judy has cared for our students’ well-being and supported staff working in student affairs, and I am deeply grateful for her willingness to fill this role. I am also grateful that she will be continuing on in the Dean's Office in her former role as Dean of Studies.
Please join me in thanking Judy and the Dean’s Office for their continued good work – and in welcoming Jennifer Walters as the new Dean of the Undergraduate College at Bryn Mawr.
With warm wishes,