Jean Kim has been named vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, assuming the post she has held on an interim basis for the past nine months.
Kim is a UMass Amherst alumna who launched her career in student affairs at the university’s flagship campus in the mid-1970s and has worked at seven universities. This is Kim’s fifth tenure as the chief student affairs officer.
Chancellor Robert C. Holub announced the appointment, citing Kim’s long experience as a student affairs administrator and her outstanding performance as interim vice chancellor.
“We are fortunate indeed to be able to look to someone not only who knows the challenges of this job, but who also has shown grace, leadership and vision in meeting those challenges in recent months,” said Holub.
Kim called her appointment “a true honor, and a vote of confidence for which I am extremely grateful.”
“The last nine months have been wonderfully engaging and rewarding for me,” said Kim. “I can’t tell you how delighted I am to be able to continue the work we have begun and to continue to serve our students and this university. I find our students to be very thoughtful and a joy to work with.”
During her interim appointment, said Kim, the student affairs division worked to strengthen its managerial infrastructure, including the completion of a strategic plan and programmatic realignments; developing a campus-wide plan to enhance the first-year experience; planning for on-campus housing expansion; and increasing collaboration with academic colleagues on integrating the students’ living-learning experiences.
After completing her B.A. in sociology at UMass Amherst in 1973, Kim served as a senior head of residence from 1974-78 in John Quincy Adams Tower and assistant director of Southwest Residential College in 1978-79. She also worked as assistant director of the Student Development and Counseling Center at UMass Amherst from 1979-81. During those years, she also completed her master’s degree in sociology and a doctorate in counseling psychology at UMass Amherst.
Subsequently, Kim served as director of student development at Western New England College in Springfield; assistant dean for graduate student affairs at Stanford University; vice president for student affairs and dean of students at the University of Hartford; vice chancellor for student affairs at the 25,000-student University of Colorado at Boulder; vice president for student affairs and dean of students at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., and vice chancellor for student affairs at UMass Dartmouth.
During her service in Colorado, Kim led 20 departments with an $80 million budget and 1,200 staff. Her accomplishments included the development of a strategic enrollment management plan and securing an $869,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to reduce high-risk drinking on campus.
Kim has also been an instructor at the UMass Amherst College of Education and the department of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. She was an adjunct faculty member in the business school at Western New England College.
Throughout her career, she has also been a consultant to corporations, higher education institutions and organizations on issues such as career development, multicultural workforce management, cross cultural communication, diversity training, strategic planning, team and leadership development, and executive coaching.
Kim was born in South Korea and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 12. She is a first-generation college student, and a beneficiary of public higher education. She is the mother of two college-educated daughters.