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Announcement of the Interim Dean of Students

July 24, 2018

Dear Members of the Swarthmore Community,

I’m delighted to share the news that Jim Terhune will join Swarthmore College as Interim Dean of Students on July 30. Jim has more than 30 years of experience in student affairs, including at Colgate University and Colby College. He has also provided counsel and strategic management assistance to a number of education clients as founder and principal of his own consulting firm.

At Colby from 2006-2017, Jim served as vice president for student affairs and dean of students and, in his last year, as vice president for strategic initiatives. Prior to his arrival at Colby, he worked at Colgate for 15 years in a number of leadership roles, including associate dean of the college and dean of student affairs, dean of first-year students, and director of student activities. At both institutions, Jim led holistic student life programs built around clearly articulated student learning outcomes. He partnered extensively with faculty on numerous initiatives, including efforts to enrich new student orientation, and academic advising and support programs. Jim also led successful efforts to enhance and expand diversity and inclusion education as well as support for underrepresented, international, LGBTQ, and first-generation-to-college students. 

Jim earned an A.B. in English from Middlebury College and an Ed.M. in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University. Prior to Colgate, he worked at Middlebury as assistant to the dean of the college and assistant director of student activities.

In his role as interim dean, Jim will oversee all aspects of the Dean of Students Division, including academic affairs and advising, diversity, inclusion, and community development, student conduct, first-generation-to-college-initiatives, and the Office of Student Engagement. He will also direct the efforts of the Registrar’s Office, International Student Services, Health and Wellness Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Career Services, the Black Cultural Center, the Intercultural Center, the Interfaith Center, and the Center for Innovation and Leadership.

Jim brings valuable experience and knowledge to this critical role. I look forward to working with him, and I know that his expertise and insights will serve us well as we strive to support the intellectual and social development of all students. This work will be especially important as we examine the goals for student life on campus and prepare for the search for a new dean.

I would like to thank Tomoko Sakomura, associate professor of art history and associate dean for academic affairs for serving as Acting Interim Dean of Students during the month of July. I also thank the following individuals for their service as members of the selection committee for the interim dean: Professors Nathalie Anderson, Ben Berger, and Nsoki Mavinga; Emily Almas (Admissions), Zenobia Hargust (Human Resources), Isaiah Thomas (Dean’s Division); and Margaret Cohen ’19.


Valerie Smith