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Monday, Feb. 26, 2024
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Jessica Waters to step down as dean of undergraduate education and vice provost for academic student services

Waters will step down in June 2023 and will rejoin full-time faculty in School of Public Affairs

Jessica Waters, the dean of undergraduate education and vice provost for academic student services at American University, will step down from her role as of June 30, 2023, according to an email from Peter Starr to the AU community.

Waters will remain at the University, serving as a full-time faculty member in the School of Public Affairs, according to Starr.

“She will undoubtedly continue to make a positive impact on the AU community as she rejoins the full-time faculty in the School of Public Affairs,” Starr wrote in the email. “I know that she has deeply missed, and is eager to return to, the classroom.”

Waters earned her bachelor’s degree in CLEG and women’s and gender studies as well as a J.D. from AU’s Washington College of Law. She joined the SPA faculty in 2008 and served as associate dean of SPA from 2014 to 2016 and an adjunct faculty member at WCL from 2007 to 2015, according to AU’s website

In July 2016, Waters was named vice provost for undergraduate studies, under the office of the provost. The position was later expanded to dean of undergraduate education and vice provost for academic student services, which encompassed academic support, disability support and the start of first-year advising.

“Throughout her tenure, Dean Waters has played a pivotal role in enhancing the AU undergraduate experience and has introduced a variety of significant programmatic and curricular innovations,” Starr wrote in the email. 

Waters oversees the Academic Support and Access Center, first-year academic advising, the AU Core curriculum, the University’s living-learning communities and the Honors and Scholars programs. 

Before joining the AU faculty, Waters worked as a litigator at WilmerHale, an international law firm, where she specialized in criminal defense litigation, internal investigations and reproductive rights litigation and advocacy.

Starr said the University administration will begin a search for the next dean of undergraduate education in the near future.

“Despite the many demands on her time, Dean Waters has remained active in research, advocacy and teaching in the area of reproductive rights,” Starr wrote in the email. “She is often called upon to provide expert commentary on related issues and plans to continue her public engagement moving forward.”

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