Message to the Bowdoin Community (April 8, 2019)
To the Bowdoin community,
I am very pleased to announce that I have appointed Janet Lohmann, our current dean of students, to serve as Bowdoin’s new dean for student affairs, effective July 1, 2019. Janet will succeed Tim Foster, who, as you know, will step down at the end of the current academic year.
Janet’s appointment follows a comprehensive national search and considerable work by members of our search committee who evaluated an impressive and diverse pool of candidates. A number of other individuals from all parts of campus interviewed our four finalists, and we owe great thanks to everyone who assisted with the search.
The arc of Janet’s career—in student affairs, as a member of the faculty, and as a leader who has brought passion, judgment, and great insight to the key issues affecting students and to changing our College for the better over a number of years—makes her the ideal choice for this critical position. She brings to the role a broad vision and an appetite for new approaches, and the decision to name Janet our next dean is enthusiastically supported by our search committee.
Janet originally joined Bowdoin in 2003 as visiting assistant professor of sociology, teaching an introduction to sociology and courses in research methods, criminology, and race and ethnic relations. She moved into student affairs in 2007, working with students on academic, social, and personal growth while also serving as director of accommodations for students with disabilities. A year later, Janet was named associate dean of student affairs and dean of first-year students and then, during the 2015-2016 academic year, she served as interim senior associate dean of student affairs. Janet left the College in the summer of 2016 to become dean of students at Kenyon College, but returned a year later when we asked her to serve in the newly created position of dean of students.
The first in her family to attend college, Janet was a driving force behind creating and building Bowdoin Advising in Support of Academic Excellence (BASE), our program to enhance the academic experience of students (including first-generation students) through more structured, integrated, and comprehensive academic advising. She was also instrumental in standing up the Collaboration for Access and Successful College Outcomes (CASCO) conference, designed to increase access and success for talented low-income students, and in the creation of THRIVE, our college-wide initiative to transform and improve the experience for low-income students, students of color, and first-generation college students.
Janet was a member of the US Olympic Development Field Hockey Team in high school and then played field hockey at Stanford University before she suffered a serious injury. She transferred to Lehigh University to be closer to home while she recovered and went on to earn her master’s degree in social relations at Lehigh and then her doctorate in sociology at UMass Amherst, focusing her dissertation on sexual assault on college campuses. In 1996, she joined the faculty at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pennsylvania, where she was granted tenure and where she later served as co-director of the Wolfington Center for Service and Leadership. Throughout her career, Janet’s work has included deep immersion in the issues that frame student affairs, including residential life, athletics, safety and wellness, inclusion and diversity, Title IX, accessibility, community involvement and service learning, the judicial process, counseling and advising, among others.
Janet’s broad and deep experience and insights, her integrity, ability to listen and willingness to act, and her combination of candor and care will make her a superb advocate for students, a dedicated leader and mentor in student affairs, a valuable partner for the faculty, and a strong colleague and advisor to me and the senior staff.
Again, my great thanks to the many members of our community who participated in the search process by interviewing our candidates and providing thoughtful feedback, and especially to the members of our search committee:
Dana E. Byrd, assistant professor of art history
Katie Byrnes, director of the Baldwin Program for Academic Development, Center for Learning and Teaching
Paul Franco, professor of government
Lesley Levy, director of student accessibility
Liz McCormack, dean for academic affairs
Eli Orlic, vice president and special assistant to the president & secretary of the College
Seth Ramus, director of health professions advising
Michael Reed, senior vice president for inclusion and diversity
Amber Rock ’19
Tama Spoerri, vice president for human resources
Jake Stenquist ’19
Archer Thomas ’21
This is an outstanding outcome for Bowdoin, and I know each of you joins me in congratulating Janet and wishing her all the best in this vital role at the College.