Dear LMU Community:
I am pleased to announce that Jennifer Abe, Ph.D., will be our next vice president for Intercultural Affairs, effective immediately, for a two-year term. After considering many factors, including feedback from our search committee, trustees, and senior leadership, I am confident VP Abe, a thoughtful leader, an influential scholar, and purposeful educator, will build upon the lasting legacy that her predecessor, Abbie Robinson-Armstrong, Ph.D., established. VP Abe’s experience and commitment to enhancing diversity and equity-mindedness will serve us well as we promote initiatives to cultivate educational and intercultural excellence.
VP Abe has been interim special assistant to the president for Intercultural Affairs since January 2019. In this role, VP Abe has facilitated collaboration between faculty and staff leaders to develop programs that sustain an institutional culture characterized by diversity, inclusion, equity-mindedness. VP Abe launched a pilot intergroup dialogue, the Cultural Consciousness Conversations, which includes faculty, staff, and administrators who meet monthly to create connection and understanding about, and across, social group identities and differences. A new monthly Intercultural Affairs column in LMU This Week features diversity and inclusion tips on topics like the use of gender pronouns, microaggressions, inclusive pedagogy (universal design for learning), and cultural respect and humility. Thanks to VP Abe, faculty and staff affinity group leaders now benefit from a summit at the beginning of the academic year to share goals and visions for their groups to foster support and communication.
Prior to her appointment as interim special assistant to the president, VP Abe served in several leadership capacities at LMU, including terms as associate dean of BCLA from 2005-10, acting chair of the Psychology Department in 2018, and founding co-director for LMU’s Casa de la Mateada program, living and working in Argentina from 2013-15. Across these roles, VP Abe fostered an inclusive institutional climate in which all members of our community thrive, focusing on faculty of color and women faculty. She also completed the Ignatian Colleagues Program and has long been committed to expressing values of diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence in the context of Ignatian spirituality and our mission. She is widely respected by her colleagues as a leader who embodies discernment, empathy, and integrity in all that she does.
VP Abe earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UCLA, where she trained with the National Research Center on Asian American Mental Health. Her research addresses disparities in mental health service delivery to ethnically diverse populations, help-seeking for mental health needs among Asian American populations, and the practice of cultural humility. In her teaching and scholarship, VP Abe has connected student learning to lived community realities outside the classroom, a reflection of the Ignatian ideal of a well-educated solidarity. She is also a senior research associate at LMU’s Psychology Applied Research Center (PARC), part of PARC’s statewide evaluation team for the California Reducing Disparities Project, a five-year initiative that includes 35 nonprofit organizations representing African American, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander, Native American, and LGBTQ communities in California.
Her personal interests include learning how to play Irish fiddle music, swimming, and bike riding, along with spending time with her family, including her partner, Professor Douglas Christie in Theological Studies, and, their five children: Julia, Jessica and Samantha (twins), and Adam and Bennett (twins).
I thank our search committee, led by the Rev. Allan Deck, S.J., and the members below for conducting a rigorous and comprehensive search that yielded a competitive candidate pool. The committee’s professionalism and engagement provided me with valuable insights during my discernment process.
Please join me in congratulating Jennifer.
With sincere appreciation and thanks,
Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.
VPIA Search Committee
Rev. Allan Deck, S.J., chair, trustee and rector of the Jesuit Community
Rebecca Chandler, vice president, Human Resources (ex-officio)
Terese Aceves, professor, LMU School of Education
Bryant Keith Alexander, dean, LMU College of Communication and Fine Arts
Katherine Brown, director, Mission and Identity Programs
Marne Campbell, president, Faculty Senate
Roberta Espinoza, vice provost, Global-Local Initiatives
John Parrish, chief of staff and special assistant to the president
John Sebastian, vice president, Mission and Ministry
Jade Smith, associate dean, Student Affairs
Michael Waterstone, dean, LMU Loyola Law School
Michael Wong, vice president, Campus Operations