New Undergraduate Dean Appointed

“I can say that when I was first asked about it, it obviously seemed like a challenging role, but I genuinely believe that I can stand up to the challenge,” chimed Dr. Jennifer Jahner, newly appointed Dean of Undergraduate Students. Despite being in the early days of her tenure, Jahner already shows a promising vision for Caltech’s undergraduate program, and an understanding of the need for continual growth and adaptation in this new environment.

In an interview with the Tech, Jahner described her goal for a robust and comprehensive support system for Caltech students. “My priorities will be student welfare and academic progress, from their initial arrival on campus to well after they graduate,” she assured.

Jahner, who is Caltech’s first-ever female Undergraduate Dean, continued to emphasize her commitment to open communication and maintaining a strong relationship with the student body. approachability, willingness to understand, and address their needs and concerns directly.

The dynamics within the Deans’ Office are yet to be completely established, as Jahner’s position is still in its nascent stage. Things are further complicated since she plans to take an academic and administrative leave during the 2023-24 academic year to complete her Fletcher Jones Distinguished Fellowship in British History and Culture at The Huntington Library. However, her collaborative approach and readiness to adapt suggest her eagerness to forge a cohesive and efficient team in the Dean’s office in the time until then.

Jahner steps into her role at a critical time, as Caltech faces an unprecedented surge in undergraduate admissions. The record-breaking 272 undergraduates admitted to the class of 2027 have resulted in a significant resource shortage. While Jahner acknowledges the urgency of the situation, she remains cautious about revealing immediate plans for dealing with it, demonstrating her focus on informed decision-making and strategic planning.

“I would be speaking out of turn right now,” Jahner responded to further questions on the topic. “It is a priority for the Student Affairs [department], but this is only my third day on the job, so I do not have enough information to give you a definite answer.”

When asked about the Office’s plans for the future of CASS (Caltech Accessibility Services for Students), she displayed the same careful consideration, underlining her commitment to due diligence before making any hasty pronouncements or plans. It is evident that Jahner prioritizes open and frank dialogue regarding student affairs and prioritizes solutions based on data and consultation.

Looking forward, Jahner is eager to incorporate student input into her work. This summer will provide an opportunity for her to connect directly with the student body, allowing them to voice their concerns and ideas for the future of Caltech. This approach not only reinforces Jahner’s dedication to student engagement but also sets the stage for an inclusive and responsive Deanship.

Jennifer Jahner’s commitment to her role, her eagerness to understand and address the unique challenges of the Caltech community, and her open approach to student communication promise a bright future for the undergraduate students of the Institute.