Gene Andrew Jarrett ’97 was named the new Dean of the Faculty as well as the William S. Tod Professor of English in a University announcement on Thursday afternoon.
Jarrett will begin in the position on Aug. 1 and will replace Sanjeev Kulkarni, who announced in January that he would resign from the position to return to teaching and research in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Jarrett is coming to Princeton from New York University (NYU), where he has served as the Seryl Kushner Dean of the College of Arts and Science and a Professor of English since 2017. His areas of interest include African American literary history from the eighteenth century to the present and U.S. literary history between the Civil War and World War II.
He graduated from Princeton in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in English before going on to receive both his Masters and Ph.D. from Brown University in 1999 and 2002, respectively. Following this, he began teaching at the University of Maryland and Boston University before moving to NYU. His wife, Dr. Renée Boynton-Jarrett ’97, whom he met at Princeton, is also a professor at the Boston University School of Medicine as well as a pediatrician and social epidemiologist.
Jarrett wrote in the University’s announcement, “As an alumnus, I have always held a profound, abiding interest in the academic culture and future of Princeton University. Being dean of the faculty will enable me to help advance the University’s longstanding commitment to having a positive impact on humanity, a core idea of higher education that continues to inspire me.”
The Office of the Dean of the Faculty “is charged with ensuring the effectiveness and well-being of Princeton University’s faculty, professional researchers, professional specialists, and professional librarians,” according to their website. In the fall of 2020, Princeton had 1,295 faculty and 1,530 academic professionals.
Jarrett has served on a number of higher education committees. He was named Chair of the American Literature Section (ALS) of the Modern Language Association of America (MLA) in 2012 as well as the William Sanders Scarborough Selection Committee on African American literature and culture a year later. Jarrett is also serving on the Association of American Universities’ (AAU) Advisory Board for Racial Equity in Higher Education.
He is also the author of three books, Deans and Truants: Race and Realism in African American Literature, Representing the Race: A New Political History of African American Literature, and a forthcoming biography about Paul Laurence Dunbar, as well as the editor of eight more.
On Jarrett’s naming to the position, President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 wrote, “He brings to the office a rare combination of scholarly excellence, administrative experience, and deep devotion to liberal arts education and Princeton’s defining values.”