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Announcing the New Interim Dean of Academic Success

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff Members,

I’m delighted to share the news that Professor of Astronomy and Chair of the Division of Natural Sciences and Engineering Eric Jensen will serve a one-year term as the interim dean of academic success in the College’s Division of Student Affairs. A member of the Swarthmore community since 1998, he will take on his new role on July 1.

Eric brings extensive leadership experience and outstanding judgment to this critical position. At Swarthmore, he was elected by his faculty peers to serve on the committees for educational policy and faculty procedures. He also served as department chair, the founding director of the Aydelotte Foundation, and program coordinator of Environmental Studies. Throughout his tenure at the College, he has been keenly focused on helping all students connect with the support and resources they require to flourish. 

Working closely with Vice President for Student Affairs Stephanie Ives, Eric will oversee several key offices in the division, including the Registrar’s Office, Student Disability Services, Fellowships and Prizes, Health Sciences, and Pre-Law Advising. He will work with individual students on both academic and personal issues and communicate with faculty about student academic progress and issues affecting student academic performance.

Eric’s own research, which focuses on extrasolar planets and the study of the origin and distribution of life in the cosmos, has been supported by NASA and the National Science Foundation. He holds a B.A. in physics from Carleton College and an M.S. and Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In addition to his courses in the Physics & Astronomy Department, Eric teaches about climate change in the Environmental Studies Program. He has published extensively on exoplanet discoveries, among other topics, and often with undergraduate co-authors.

I wish to thank the members of the Committee on Faculty Procedures — Associate Professor of Educational Studies Diane Anderson, Professor of Political Science Ayse Kaya, Professor of Music Jon Kochavi, Associate Professor of Educational Studies Edwin Mayorga, Neil R. Grabois Professor of Natural Sciences and Engineering Lisa Meeden, and Professor of Mathematics & Statistics Lynne Steuerle Schofield — for consulting with me on this selection. I look forward to working with Eric as he takes on this new role and continues to support our students on their Swarthmore journey. 


Val Smith