Tulane dean joining Pacific as dean of College of the Pacific

Lee Skinner

Lee Skinner will join Pacific Jan. 3.

Lee Skinner, dean of Newcomb-Tulane College at Tulane University and former associate dean at Claremont McKenna College, will be the new dean of College of the Pacific, home to University of the Pacific’s liberal arts and sciences programs and the university’s largest school, officials announced today.

Skinner has served as dean of Tulane’s undergraduate college since 2019, focused on student success. She oversees 117 staff and academic support and resources for Tulane’s 8,000 undergraduates, including academic advising, undergraduate research, the Center for Academic Equity, career services and the core curriculum. 

Skinner has led efforts at Tulane to enhance faculty-student connections and promote equitable access to academic resources and has made substantive changes to strengthen involvement from the 636 faculty who make up the college’s five undergraduate schools.

Tulane University, located in New Orleans, is ranked No. 44 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. 

“Lee is a dynamic leader who will be a tremendous asset to our students, our faculty and our university,” President Christopher Callahan said. “She has a forward-thinking and entrepreneurial approach and is laser focused on the success of students. I am confident she will successfully lead the college’s efforts to increase retention and graduation rates by providing superb academic programs, immersive and experiential learning environments and support services for all our students in the arts and sciences as we march toward our goal of becoming the finest student-centric comprehensive university in America.”

She will join Pacific on Jan. 3.

“I am delighted to be joining College of the Pacific’s outstanding faculty, staff, and students,” Skinner said. “I’m looking forward to working with my new colleagues to build on the college’s long tradition of excellence and to develop innovative programs that foster our students’ intellectual growth and prepare them for post-graduation success. The College’s faculty and staff are deeply committed to providing robust academic programs for students and to supporting students in their intellectual journeys, and I am thrilled to join them in ensuring that our students have every opportunity to thrive as they pursue meaningful and rewarding academic experiences.”

Prior to Tulane, Skinner spent six years as associate dean of the faculty at Claremont McKenna College, one of seven institutions in the Claremont Colleges Consortium in Southern California. Claremont McKenna is ranked No. 34 in the nation by the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education. 

She started at Claremont McKenna in 2008 as associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages.

Skinner began her career as an assistant professor at University of Kansas in 1996, becoming associate chair for the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in 2007.

She also is an internationally recognized scholar with research focused on nation-building and national identity in 19th-century Spanish America.

Skinner earned a Ph.D. in Spanish from Emory University and has a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Brown University.

College of the Pacific is the university’s founding school, established in 1851, and offers courses in the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and the fine and performing arts. The college has 150 faculty members in 17 departments with 31 majors. 

Skinner is the newest member of Pacific’s leadership team assembled by Callahan since he started as president two years ago after 15 years as dean and vice provost at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Earlier this year, University of San Francisco School of Management Dean Charles Moses was named dean of the Eberhardt School of Business. James Wash, executive director and university controller at Tufts University, joined Pacific as chief financial officer. Niraj Chaudhary was promoted to dean of the William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center. And Suong Ives, chief human resources officer for Providence St. Joseph Health System and former HR chief at Clarkson University, was appointed chief people officer

Last year, UCLA Dean for Students Maria Q. Blandizzi was named vice president for student life. Liz Orwin, head of engineering at Harvey Mudd College, was appointed dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science. Mary Lomax-Ghirarduzzi, vice provost for diversity at the University of San Francisco, was appointed Pacific’s inaugural vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. And Scott Biedermann was promoted to vice president for development and alumni relations. Two years ago, Christopher Ferguson, an enrollment strategist from Occidental College, started as Pacific’s vice president for enrollment strategy.

Pacific is California’s first and oldest university, founded in 1851. The university, with campuses in Stockton, Sacramento and San Francisco, is ranked as the No. 19 college in the West by The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education and in the Top 100 nationally.