Responding to demographic changes in higher education, tapping into the strong tradition of student leadership at Whitman College and contributing to the strategic plan in store for the campus top the immediate to-do list of Daren Mooko, the new vice president for student affairs and dean of students.
"The academy has known for some time that the makeup of students will dramatically shift in the coming years. Higher education, as a whole, is grappling with concepts of power, privilege, equity, justice, access and inclusion," he said. "A community like Whitman is a perfect setting to address those realities and ideals, given the close nature of the students, faculty and staff."
Whitman's "commitment to exploration" encourages and compels students to take an active role in their academics and quality of life, Mooko explained, and he intends to draw on this long-established alliance. "I was encouraged to learn that students are involved in a wide range of activities and committees that have a direct impact on the functioning of the college."
He is also excited to collaborate with "intellectually curious students passionate about liberal arts" and to "be part of the process of the strategic plan" that Whitman is unfolding.
Mooko comes to Whitman from Pomona College, where he was associate dean, Title IX coordinator and diversity officer. Previous positions at Pomona included associate dean of students for student development and leadership; and director of the Asian American resource center. He has more than two decades of student affairs experience. Mooko earned a bachelor's degree in English from San Diego State University and a master's in higher education and student affairs from the University of Vermont.
"Daren's perspective on the field of student affairs, as well as the connections he makes between student affairs and the rest of campus, resonated with faculty, staff and students," said Whitman President Kathleen Murray about his candidacy. "His experience at Pomona gives him an excellent understanding of the role of student affairs at a residential liberal arts college. These insights and experience will serve him well as he helps build on the successes of our student affairs team."
Arthur Shemitz '17, president of the Associated Students of Whitman College and a member of the search committee for the opening, admired his convictions. "Dean Mooko's strong personal values and clear commitment to social justice were very well-received by Whitman students, who share a commitment to deeply held
Mooko begins at Whitman this summer, before the start of the 2017-18 academic year. He will report to President Murray and sit on the president's cabinet.