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Jim Terhune, Tomoko Sakomura Take on New Leadership Roles in Student Affairs

Jim Terhune (left) and Tomoko Sakomura

Jim Terhune (left) and Tomoko Sakomura have accepted new roles as vice president for student affairs and dean of students, respectively.

President Valerie Smith recently announced that Vice President and Dean of Students Jim Terhune will serve in a new role as vice president for student affairs, and Tomoko Sakomura, assistant vice president and dean of academic success and professor of history of art, will serve as dean of students, effective immediately. 

Terhune came to the College in 2018 as interim dean of students, and accepted a two-year appointment as vice president and dean of students the following year. Before helping to lead the College’s efforts through the COVID-19 pandemic this spring, he focused this past academic year on inclusive excellence and diversity support and on strengthening and enhancing Career Services. He also created the student life committee, which provides students and faculty with a formal voice in establishing co-curricular policies.

"Throughout his time here, we have benefited from Jim’s wisdom and steady leadership," Smith said. "He has demonstrated his commitment to student success and his effectiveness in leading the Student Affairs Division."

As vice president of student affairs, Terhune will continue to oversee all aspects of the Student Affairs Division. In this role, he will also direct the efforts of inclusive excellence and community development, Health and Wellness Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Career Services, and the Center of Innovation and Leadership.

Terhune holds an A.B. in English from Middlebury College and an Ed.M. in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University. Throughout his 30 years of experience in higher education, Terhune has served in a number of leadership roles, including as vice president for student affairs and dean of students and vice president for strategic initiatives at Colby College, dean of student affairs at Colgate University, and assistant to the dean of the college at Middlebury. 

Sakomura, a specialist in Japanese art history, joined Swarthmore’s faculty in 2005 and has offered courses on East Asian art that explore major traditions in painting, calligraphy, and architecture, as well as the tea ceremony and contemporary visual culture. She joined the Dean’s staff in 2017 as associate dean of academic affairs after serving as chair of the Art and Art History Department as well as on several College committees. She holds a B.A. from Keio University in Tokyo and an M.A. and Ph.D. in art history and archaeology from Columbia University. 

As dean of students, she will provide leadership, oversight, and strategic direction to Swarthmore’s student life and academic success programs. In this role, she will continue to oversee academic advising and support, including the Registrar’s Office. Sakomura will also direct efforts related to student life, including the Office of Student Engagement, student conduct, and new student orientation. As dean of students, she also serves in the important role as the primary liaison between student affairs and the faculty.

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