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Assistant Executive Dean

James Van Arsdel

Jim is currently Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and University Housing at The University of Arizona, a land grant Research I university located in the strikingly beautiful Sonoran Desert. He is responsible for all aspects of student housing, for the University’s sustainability office, and for advising student boards which allocate several million dollars of student fees each year. He is a member of the University’s CERT Team and several University committees, including the College Advisory Committee for International Affairs. Jim is active in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the Association of College and University Housing Officers -International. He has presented at numerous conferences and served on the faculty of multiple professional training institutes and symposia in the US and UK.

Jim completed his BA at Chapman University in Orange, California and his MBA at the University of Southern California. While a student at Chapman, Jim sailed on Semester at Sea’s SS Ryndam in Spring, 1970. Five years later, he sailed again, this time with his wife, Nancy, on SAS’s SS Universe Campus as a staff member and International Trade instructor. In 2007, Jim sailed once more with Nancy on Semester at Sea’s modern MV Explorer as Assistant Executive Dean.

In between sailings, Jim lived briefly in Brazil while in the Peace Corps, worked in local government in Orange County, California, and has worked in higher education now for over 30 years. Throughout his career, Jim has been amazed at how much his life has been changed by each Semester at Sea voyage and the number of times he has used lessons from those voyages, in some cases, up to 40 years later. He cannot wait to begin a new voyage, to meet a new set of friends, and to see how students’ lives are changed this time!