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April 11, 2000
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Princeton Names Janet Smith Dickerson Vice President for Campus Life
PRINCETON, N.J. -- Janet Smith Dickerson, vice president for student affairs at Duke University since 1991 and previously dean of the college at Swarthmore College, has been appointed vice president for campus life at Princeton University, effective July 1.
The appointment was announced by Princeton's president, Harold T. Shapiro, who said: "Janet Dickerson has already demonstrated exceptional leadership as the chief student affairs officer at two excellent institutions, and we are delighted that she has now agreed to bring her skills, insights, and personal qualities to serve the students at Princeton. She has been an architect of campus residential and support programs, an innovator, a consensus-builder, and an advocate for the needs of students and for greater opportunities for interaction among students, faculty and staff. We welcome her warmly to the most senior levels of our administration and look forward to her leadership at Princeton in shaping the quality of the campus experience for all of our students."
As vice president for campus life, Dickerson succeeds Janina Montero, who carried the title of dean of student life. The change in title reflects the broad administrative responsibilities of the position, which oversees the office of the dean of undergraduate students, the Department of Athletics, the University Health Services, and the office of the dean of religious life and of the chapel. As vice president for campus life, Dickerson also will seek ways, in collaboration with the Graduate School, to enhance the quality of graduate student life and will oversee the new Frist Campus Center, which is expected to open early next fall. Dickerson will report to Princeton's vice president and secretary, Thomas Wright.
At Duke, Dickerson has been responsible for planning, management and budgetary oversight of undergraduate and graduate student affairs, ranging from counseling and career services to international and intercultural affairs, and from residential life and student activities to the women's center and community service. She has led efforts to create an alcohol policy and education program and to improve Duke's wellness and mental health services. She also has played a central role in efforts to diversify Duke's workforce and to modify the campus climate and culture in ways that recognize the breadth and richness of the diversity within the Duke community.
In her ten years as dean of the college at Swarthmore, Dickerson was responsible for all student academic and academic support services, including academic advising, athletics, health, counseling, career, judicial, volunteer, financial aid, orientation, and minority and international student services, and had shared oversight for public safety. Prior to her appointment as dean she served five years as associate dean at Swarthmore, and prior to that she was associate dean of students, director of supportive services and assistant professor of education at Earlham College. Her earliest work experience was as a junior high school English teacher and guidance counselor.
Princeton's dean of the college, Professor Nancy Malkiel, a member of the search committee, said: "I have the highest respect for Janet Dickerson. She has a wealth of experience in student affairs and very special human qualities of empathy, intuition, judgment and good humor. She combines tough-minded analytical intelligence with great warmth and a passionate commitment to students. I expect her to become a central and greatly valued member of our community; students, faculty and staff will benefit from her wise and energetic leadership on issues concerning our community life. I look forward very much to working with her to enhance the educational experience of Princeton undergraduates."
A native of Denmark, South Carolina, Dickerson earned her B.A. in English from Western College for Women (later merged with Miami University of Ohio) and her M.Ed. in educational guidance from Xavier University. She also has studied in the Ed.D. program at the University of Pennsylvania and at Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management, and has received honorary doctorates from Swarthmore and Xavier. As a trustee of Guilford College, she chairs its academic affairs committee, and as a trustee of the Children's Defense Fund, she co-chairs its student leadership network for children. She has served on a number of accrediting committees, including most recently at Yale University and the University of Virginia.
Dickerson said, "I am very pleased to be joining the Princeton community, and to be engaged in campus life issues with students, faculty, administrative staff and all others who support them. My experiences at Swarthmore and Duke have prepared me to be open to learning more about those features of Princeton life that make it such a distinctive institution.."