Two New Deans at Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis has announced the appointment of two new deans.

Rafia Zafar was named associate dean for diversity and inclusiveness at the university’s Graduate Schools of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Zafar joined the Washington University faculty in 1998 and now serves as professor of English, professor of African and African-American studies, and professor of American culture studies.

Professor Zafar is the author of We Wear the Mask: African Americans Write American Literature, 1760-1870. She is co-editor of Harriet Jacobs and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: New Critical Essays and God Made Man, Man Made the Slave: The Autobiography of George Teamoh. The latter volume tells the story of Zafar’s great-great-grandfather, who was one of the first black elected officials in the history of Virginia.

Dr. Zafar is a graduate of the City College of New York. She earned a master’s degree in English and comparative literature from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in the history of American civilization from Harvard University.

Jacaranda van Rheenen was appointed assistant dean for graduate student affairs, a new position at the university. She was a postdoctoral recruiter for academic programs in biomedical sciences at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

A native of the Netherlands, Dr. van Rheenen earned a master’s degree at Wageningen University and a Ph.D. in plant ecology from Utrecht University.

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