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Ajay Nair: Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs
July 15, 2008, Volume 55, No. 1



The Division of the Vice Provost for University Life (VPUL) is pleased to introduce Dr. Ajay Nair as Penn’s Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs, effective July 1.

Dr. Nair returned to Penn from Columbia University, where he served as associate dean of student affairs for Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. Formerly, Dr. Nair had served at Penn as associate director and instructor in the Asian American Studies Program, as well as director of the Pan-Asian American Community House (PAACH).

Prior to his appointments at Penn and Columbia, Dr. Nair held positions at Penn State University and the University of Virginia, where he served in a variety of capacities as faculty member, student affairs administrator, and academic administrator.  

“I feel privileged to have the opportunity to provide leadership for services that touch the lives of all Penn undergraduate, graduate, and professional students,” Dr. Nair said. “Penn is uniquely positioned to engage students in opportunities that integrate students’ in-class and out-of-class experiences that ultimately will promote a lifelong commitment to citizenship and social justice. By providing co-curricular opportunities that help our students grow and develop, we are one step closer to cultivating our future leaders and change agents. I look forward to this exciting challenge.”

VPUL Dr. Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum said, “With great delight, we welcome Ajay home to our VPUL family. Ajay served with distinction in his earlier tenure at Penn, and I know our entire campus community will benefit from his fantastic experience and efforts on behalf of our outstanding undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. We’re thrilled to have him back and joining us in this important leadership role.”

A Philadelphia native, Dr. Nair holds a BS and a PhD in education from Penn State. His research interests include quality assurance in educational systems, service learning and civic engagement, and 2nd-generation Asian American identity. His current book project, Desi Rap: Hip-Hop in South Asian America (Rowman & Littlefield, Fall 2008) focuses on the complexities of 2nd-generation South Asian American identity. Dr. Nair has taught regularly throughout his career.

Dr. Nair will serve as the chief deputy to the VPUL for all aspects of undergraduate, graduate, and professional student affairs and activities under the VPUL division. He will be the chief liaison to school student affairs officers, house deans, and other key University divisional officers and serve as a liaison to the Undergraduate Working Group and Trustees Council of Penn Women, chair the Tangible Change committee, and serve as the staff administrator of the Trustee Student Life Committee.

Dr. Nair will coordinate campus Open Expression monitoring, as well as lead review and updating of student policies and procedures.


Almanac - July 15, 2008, Volume 55, No. 1