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Hampshire College Appoints Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Zauyah Waite

Waite joins Hampshire from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, a private liberal arts institution of 2,200 students, where she was vice president for student affairs & dean of students.

Hampshire College today named accomplished administrator Zauyah Waite as vice president for student affairs and dean of students, reporting to the president and serving on the senior leadership team. In her career, Waite has served tens of thousands of students across three distinctively different campuses, ranging from large public universities to a small private liberal arts university. Her extensive experience in student life administration encompasses strategic planning, budget management, team development, diversity and inclusion, and leadership through crisis and conflict.

Zauyah Waite
Zauyah Waite

Waite joins Hampshire from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, a private liberal arts institution of 2,200 students, where she was vice president for student affairs & dean of students. For nearly 12 years, Waite served as a member of the President’s Council and a leader in strategic planning and student life, with a focus on recruitment and retention efforts for all undergraduate and graduate students. She led a division comprising 40 professional staff, 30 graduate students, and more than 125 student employees. For more than four years she co-chaired the University’s first Diversity and Inclusion Council.

On her appointment, Waite commented, “I will be honored to serve Hampshire in its mission delivering students a uniquely personalized, self-directed, and experiential education. I’m looking forward to collaborating with students, staff, and faculty to develop a meaningful and impactful student experience, and to empower students to reach their highest potential.”

The national search was led this spring by a committee of faculty and staff chaired by Natalie Sowell, former dean of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, and School for Interdisciplinary Arts.

President Ed Wingenbach thanked the search committee and commented, "We are excited for Zauyah to join Hampshire and provide leadership, vision, and strategic direction for Student Affairs. Diversity is central to our academic program and campus, and Zauyah will be a leading advocate for all of our students, engaging on issues of identity, social and economic justice, and anti-racism, and strengthening our community through respectful and inclusive dialogue across differences.” He added, “I look forward to working with her to align Student Affairs with our bold new curriculum.”

Previously, Waite was associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students at the University of Toledo, a public research university in Ohio serving 21,500 students across three campuses. There she ran a Dean of Students office with 36 full-time staff, 7 graduate students, and 150 student employees.

Waite began her administrative career in student affairs at the University of Missouri Kansas City, where she worked for more than 12 years, assuming increasing responsibility at the campus serving some 12,000 students. She also earned her Ph.D. there, in higher education administration.

Waite earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Malaysia, before traveling from her home country to pursue a graduate degree in the U.S.

Waite has a record of working with colleagues and students in a spirit of partnership, transparency, and care. She will lead Hampshire’s dedicated student affairs staff to reimagine and develop a program that fosters a strong sense of community and ensures thoughtful support of all students, distinguishing the College’s experience beyond the classroom. Advocating for students to fellow leaders and trustees, Waite said she will strive to continue to instill in students an understanding of shared governance and activism, and the importance of each individual’s contribution as a community member, civic leader, and citizen.

Djola Branner announced in March he was leaving the role of vice president of student affairs and returning to his full-time faculty position at the end of June. President Wingenbach expressed the College’s gratitude to Djola for his service this year providing leadership and strategic direction of Student Affairs.

Search Committee Members

  • Natalie Sowell, Search Chair, Dean, Institutional Diversity and Inclusion; Dean, School for Interdisciplinary Arts; Associate Professor of Theatre
  • Eliza McArdle, Director of Counseling Services
  • Pam Tinto, Dean of Students for Student Engagement
  • Brad King, Director of Outdoor Programs, Recreation and Athletics
  • Janine Knight, Assistant Dean of Students/Director of Campus Leadership & Activities
  • Becky Miller, Dean of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies, Professor of Music
  • Alexander De Leon, student, resident advisor

About Hampshire College

In fall 2020, Hampshire College will launch a bold curriculum to prepare students to engage in complex, pressing issues and questions of the 21st century. Departing completely from traditional college majors and siloed academic departments, Hampshire’s new direction intentionally prepares students for a future of constant and rapid change, in which graduates will need to apply advanced skills and innovate continually. Hampshire will implement the new approach for incoming students in its 50th anniversary class, as it reshapes the liberal arts for today’s world.

The inventive new program invites students to

  • explore and innovate freely across any fields of knowledge; and
  • develop lifelong entrepreneurial skills including creative problem-solving, applied critical thinking, and resiliency, as each student designs the questions that drive them into their personal, original program, a hallmark of a Hampshire education. 

Hampshire College was founded by its partners in the Five College Consortium as a major departure from traditional colleges. The consortium enables students of its partner institutions free, open access to a breadth of resources, including shared courses, libraries, symposia, certificate programs, clubs, events, transportation, and more.


The Waite family, below: Zauyah with her kids, Ian (15), Emma (18), and Spencer (14), and husband Jim, director of alumni relations for Kogod Business School at American University

The Waite Family
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