The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Jamila Bookwala, dean of faculty, to become provost of Gettysburg College

Photo by Zovko Photographic LLC for The Lafayette
Jamila Bookwala said that she hopes to bring diversity and equity initiatives to Gettysburg. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette Communications)

After over 20 years of teaching, research and contributions to the Lafayette community, Jamila Bookwala, current dean of faculty and chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council, will become the provost of Gettysburg College this summer. 

“I am deeply excited [and] deeply honored to be invited to join the Gettysburg community,” Bookwala said.

Bookwala has been part of Lafayette’s faculty since 2001. She was first hired as an assistant professor of psychology, promoted to associate professor in 2006 and appointed head of the psychology department in 2014. Since then, Bookwala has also served as the chair of the aging studies program, dean of curriculum and research, dean of academic initiatives and deputy Title IX coordinator. 

Additionally, she is the associate editor of the academic journal The Gerontologist and a fellow of the American Psychological Association and Gerontological Society of America. 

As dean of faculty and chair of the DEI Council, Bookwala directed initiatives in advancing diversity and inclusion work within the academic division and the recruitment process for faculty to ensure that “recruiting practices were increasingly inclusive and bias-free.”

Bookwala spent her first year as dean of faculty at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which Lafayette did not stop the recruitment process for faculty. Instead, under the direction of Bookwala, faculty hiring became an entirely virtual process.

“I’m really glad we were able to keep bringing fabulous teacher-scholars to campus,” Bookwala said.

She made sure to prioritize faculty support and well-being during the various challenges of the pandemic and remote learning. Last spring, she organized a wellness program in tandem with Human Resources to provide mental health resources for faculty. 

Bookwala said that her goal “was to make sure we could do all that was feasible to support faculty” during this time.

Also appointed chair of the DEI Council in the same year, Dr. Bookwala worked to reconfigure the organization of the council to better represent students and staff to “[work] towards a greater inclusion” and “provide a space for concerns and thoughts to campus.”

Despite her many awards, grants and positions at Lafayette, Bookwala said that her greatest accomplishment was “bringing an incredible group of faculty to join our community” so that “students will have the opportunity to learn from these scholars.”

As provost of Gettysburg College, Bookwala hopes to bring new ideas into Gettyburg’s own diversity and inclusion program in the academic space and to accomplish much of the same faculty support she was able to at Lafayette. 

“[The position of Provost] is one where I will be able to bring all the expertise I’ve developed here … I’ve learned so much. I’ve gathered experience, expertise and sensitivity,” she said. 

Bookwala is excited to be joining Gettysburg’s community, whose motto is “do great work,” during a time of change and reorganization, as they are also revising their core curriculum. She is looking forward to being able to “serve the institution” and “serve the faculty” as provost. 

“I am happy for my colleague Jamila Bookwala as she enters the next stage of her career as Provost of Gettysburg College,” associate dean of teaching and learning Tracie Addy wrote in an email. “She is deeply committed to higher education – its students and faculty – which I am sure she will take to her new position.”

Despite many exciting prospects for Bookwala’s work at Gettysburg, she will miss many parts of the Lafayette community. 

“I will miss the people,” Bookwala said. “I’ve had such important opportunities for my own professional and personal growth.”

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About the Contributor
Selma O'Malley
Selma O'Malley, News Editor
Waiting for someone to write a sitcom about a college newspaper.

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