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Church named dean of Student Affairs

Interim dean of Student Affairs Jennifer Church has been officially named dean of Student Affairs, vice-president of Enrollment William Elliott announced in a press conference last Monday.

Church has served in the interim dean position since June, when former dean Michael Murphy was promoted to associate vice-president of the University.

Under Church, Paul Fowler is staying on as associate dean of Student Affairs, while Anne Witchner has taken over as assistant dean.

The installation of Church as dean brings to a close a national search that drew 70 applicants since last fall. A 17-member search committee narrowed the search down to nine finalists early this semester before selecting the top three finalists: Church; Richard Ferraro, dean of students at Bucknell University; and Charlene Cole-Newkirk, dean of the College of Southern Maryland’s Prince Frederick campus. All three finalists held forums in March that were open to students and faculty.

“As a candidate, the process was very thoughtfully orchestrated and inclusive of the many constituents of the campus community with whom the dean of Student Affairs will work,” Church said.

While Church applauds the process, students applaud her selection.

“I was thrilled when I found out that the University had selected Jen Church to be our permanent dean. Even as a senior, I am glad that the next wave of students will get to work with Jen Church,” said Shan Arunachalam, a senior in business administration.

As dean, Church is involved in many projects with students and organizations. In her time as interim dean, Church has initiated new programs on campus, such as the Late Night program and the Greek Task Force.
“In the upcoming year, Student Affairs will continue to develop opportunities to engage students in the academic, social, and cultural life of the Carnegie Mellon community and the broader Pittsburgh area,” she said.

Additionally, Church has long-term goals for the campus community.

“Our long-term vision for the student experience is based on the opportunity for every student to engage in experiences that promote his or her artistic and intellectual curiosity, community engagement, personal well-being, professional competency, leadership development, and social responsibility,” stated Church.
Based on past experiences, students are excited to work with Church in the future.

“I found her to be a very friendly and approachable person because of her ability to communicate with people,” said Amanda Ip, a junior industrial design major. Ip worked with Church during Orientation.

Hussein Al Baya, a senior in business administration, has also worked with Church and expressed confidence in the selection.

“Her experience, passion, and dedication to our university and its students are simply incomparable,” he said.