Assistant Vice Chancellor for Career Success joins campus

Jennifer Baszile arrives July 1, serving in newly created position supporting student career readiness.

April 26, 2019

Jennifer Baszile
Jennifer Baszile is committed to building upon existing partnerships in her new role as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Career Success and Executive Director of the Career Center.

By Gwynn Benner

What motivates Jennifer Baszile is the opportunity to create the foundation for an ecosystem approach to student career success, building upon the pioneering research and teaching we are known for, the community commitment to inclusion, and the long traditions of social justice. As a California native, returning to her home state and to the leading public university system, also excites Jennifer.

“We are in a phase where higher education and the world of work are changing in really revolutionary and profound ways,” shared Jennifer Baszile in a recent interview.

“Student career success, and by that I include both graduate and undergraduate students, is deeply linked as the other side of the access and equity equation. I want to engage students where they are, build upon the intellectual, service, and activist contributions they already make. Focus on empowering them so they are equipped, whatever the pathway they chose, to be successful. And, I know from experience, that is never a straight line.”

Jennifer will join UC Santa Cruz on July 1, serving in a newly created position as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Career Success and Executive Director of the Career Center within the Division of Student Success.

“This is a time of great opportunity for our campus,” notes Jaye Padgett, Vice Provost for Student Success. “As we think about the full cycle of our engagement with students, from the time we reach out to them in junior high school to our long-term connection with them as alumni, our campus’s support for student career readiness is a key part of that engagement. The changing landscape of employment, and the urgency of addressing equity in career readiness and success, were just two motivating factors in establishing this new position. With the diverse background and experience Jennifer brings, we are looking forward to expanding our reach both around campus and with employers and deepening our commitment to student career success in the years to come.”

Jennifer Baszile comes to UC Santa Cruz from Trinity College where she has served since 2017 as Dean of Student Success and Career Development. As the Center’s chief ambassador, Jennifer has actively cultivated relationships, expanding networks with faculty members and campus colleagues, alumni, trustees, parents, and employers across the globe to operationalize the College’s mission. She also has served as a campus leader in retention and student success efforts, aligning resources across the College to maximize retention. Jennifer created Trinity’s pre-orientation program for first-generation and low-income college students and her work led Trinity college to achieve the highest retention rate since 2012. While at Trinity, Jennifer was a critical partner in the implementation of a new strategic plan for Student Success and Career Development.

“My goal at Santa Cruz will be to engage with students, faculty, staff, and employers directly as they can provide the most insight into how to make clear the value of hiring a UC Santa Cruz student, what it means to have a UC Santa Cruz experience. We have so much we can learn from all of those voices. That’s why an ecosystem approach matters to me,” said Jennifer.   

“Campuses like Santa Cruz can embrace building institutional capacity to support the changing student and employer needs,” she notes, “Innovation is what Santa Cruz does and does well. That’s why I am looking forward to this opportunity.”

Jennifer is an award-winning researcher and former professor at Yale University where she taught American history, African American studies, and writing at the University of Connecticut; Yale University, and the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of The Black Girl Next Door: A Memoir, published by Simon & Schuster and has received numerous awards, including Ebony magazine's recognition as a top leader under 30, the Morse Research Fellowship, the Poorvu Family Prize for Teaching, the Columbia College Alumna Achievement Award, and the New Author of the Year Award from the largest African American women’s book club in the nation. Jennifer holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in American history from Princeton University and a B.A. in history from Columbia University.