Miriam Feldblum Named Vice President and Dean of Students at Pomona College
Pomona College, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges, has appointed Miriam Feldblum to be its new vice president and dean of students effective July 1, 2007. She is currently the senior director for academic support and planning at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
Pomona College President David W. Oxtoby said he is delighted that Feldblum will be joining Pomona this summer. “She brings exactly the qualities we were looking for in this appointment: a deep commitment to students and their achievement, an involvement in and commitment to issues of diversity and an ability to work strategically in a national context,” said Oxtoby. “The search committee was unanimous in its enthusiasm for the thoughtful and personal approach she will bring to student affairs at Pomona.”
As part of the interview process, Feldblum spent two days on campus meeting with students, faculty and staff in public forums. Among the key factors in her decision to come to Pomona and return to liberal arts education, she said, is that “Pomona truly embraces student leadership and learning inside and outside the classroom. What I saw was student leadership on the campus and in the community…. and the President’s vision of the future is to pursue even further those sorts of opportunities for student engagement and leadership.”
A highlight of Feldblum’s visit, she says, was her meeting with students. “Their enthusiasm, their passion and their interest in improving Pomona, not only for themselves but for others, came through very strongly.”
As vice president and dean of students at Pomona College, Feldblum will oversee residential and social life at a private liberal arts college that is home to 1,500 students. Her areas of responsibility will include housing, student activities, the campus center, career development, community and multicultural programs, and the Asian American Resource Center. The position also shares responsibility for academic support services, advising and academic procedures. In addition, the Dean oversees several services provided through the Claremont Colleges consortium – including health and counseling, campus safety, the chaplaincy and offices for Black and Chicano/Latino Student Affairs – in cooperation with deans from the other Claremont Colleges.
At Caltech, Feldblum served in a variety of roles during her 11 years with the institution. As senior director for academic support and planning since 2003, she is a member of the senior management team and is responsible for supervising athletics, physical education and recreation, the career development center, the counseling and health centers, fellowships advising and study abroad, performing and creative arts, and the women’s center. She also directs institutional research and assessment within student affairs, serves as the lead student affairs’ representative for the WASC accreditation process, is the Institute’s Title IX officer, co-coordinates the Mellon Mays Fellowship program, and serves as the administrative liaison for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community and other campus groups.
From 2000-2006, she served as special assistant to then-President David Baltimore leading projects on student achievement and student residential life. In 2001, she led the Institutewide Task Force on Undergraduate Residential Life Initiatives, whose central recommendations for the restoration and reconstruction of Student Houses were successfully incorporated into Caltech’s capital campaign. She also provided development and assessment of diversity and gender equity initiatives, including managing proposals for diversity initiatives such as a $2.2 million grant from The James Irvine Foundation, entry of Caltech into the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Minority PhD Program, and a $5 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
In addition to her administrative roles, Feldblum is a faculty associate and lecturer in the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences where she teaches courses on immigration and citizenship. Her publications include Reconstructing Citizenship (1999), on citizenship politics and policies in France, and “The Human Face of Global Mobility” (co-authored chapter, 2006). Her research interests include comparative citizenship and nationality policies, first- and second-generation students, scientists and engineers in the U.S. and the role of international governmental and nongovernmental organizations as service providers and policy setters in migration.
Feldblum was raised in New York City and earned her bachelor or arts degree, cum laude, from Barnard College. She then attended Yale University, earning her master of arts, master of philosophy and her doctorate degrees in political science. She taught at the University of San Francisco before joining Caltech. Her partner is Peter Biegen, a successful screenwriter. She has three teenage sons, Ari, Isaac and Noah.
Pomona College, founded in 1887, offers a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.