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Forward Motion

With more than 30 years of experience in student affairs, Jim Terhune joined the Swarthmore community last summer as interim dean of students.

In April, President Valerie Smith named him to his current role of vice president and dean of students through the 2020–21 academic year.
Smith noted that in his brief time on campus, Terhune had changed the class dean structure to improve access and consistency for students, increased avenues of communication with student government, and partnered with the Title IX Office to continue to evolve the process for addressing complaints.

Terhune continues to concentrate his efforts on supporting the intellectual and social development of all students and better align the work of the Dean’s Division with the academic goals of the College. He is also refining the division’s organizational structure and resources to best serve students, and working to develop meaningful student participation in discussions of important campus issues. “Our focus,” Terhune says, “is on providing holistic

individual support and ensuring that all students have equal opportunities to participate fully in a robust range of social and cocurricular programs and activities.”

As part of Swarthmore’s ongoing efforts to reimagine campus social life, Smith charged Terhune and Provost and Dean of the Faculty Sarah Willie-LeBreton to engage students, faculty, and staff in an initiative aimed at strengthening and expanding meaningful relationships within the campus community. Terhune says that work will begin in earnest later this fall and continue into the spring semester.

“We are at a critical moment,” says Smith. “Especially as we envision new social spaces on campus as part of the planned Sharples Dining and Community Commons project, we have the opportunity to ensure students can thrive socially as well as academically.”