Ghazanfar named head, Andres named dean of New College East

Dec. 14, 2021

By Julie Clack, Office of Communications

Asif Ghazanfar, professor of psychology and neuroscience, has been named head of New College East (NCE), which will become Princeton’s seventh residential college. Alexis Andres, currently the dean of Whitman College, has been named NCE’s inaugural dean. Both will begin their terms on July 1, 2022.

“NCE joins New College West (NCW) on the edge of Poe Field as the latest addition to our residential college program,” said Dean of the College Jill Dolan.

NCW will be populated by students and staff formerly affiliated with First College. First College’s buildings will eventually be the site of the new Hobson College, Dolan explained. Expected to open in 2026, Hobson College will become the University’s eighth residential college.

Ghazanfar’s appointment was announced by Dolan and Kathleen Deignan, dean of undergraduate students. A faculty member serves as the head of each of Princeton’s residential colleges, working closely with their staffs to build community and to devise programs and activities to extend students’ education beyond the classroom. College deans oversee the academic and residential life advising for all students, the day-to-day operation of the college office, and student programming.

Ghazanfar became an assistant professor at Princeton in 2005. He received his Ph.D. in neurobiology from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Idaho.

Ghazanfar’s work focuses on the origins of behavior in development and evolution. His research draws on ideas from neuroscience, psychology, biomechanics, developmental systems theory and dynamical systems. He was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER award and the James S. McDonnell Scholar award to support this work. In 2013, he was awarded a Troland Research Award presented to “outstanding young investigators in experimental psychology” from the National Academy of Science.

At Princeton, Ghazanfar served as the co-director of undergraduate program in neuroscience for three years and helped establish the Princeton Neuroscience Institute’s neuroscience concentration in 2014; he served as its inaugural director of undergraduate studies until 2020. He is currently a first-year advisor and fellow in Butler College.

“As head of this new college, I'm looking forward to fostering — and being a part of — a creative and generous community, a community of individuals with common causes but different perspectives,” said Ghazanfar. “I'm excited about working with Dean Alexis Andres to build a team that will create an environment that encourages students to follow their unique paths and discover their potential in all facets of life, not just scholarship.”

“I’m delighted to welcome Professor Asif Ghazanfar to the Council of College Heads as the new faculty leader of NCE,” said Dolan. “I welcome the innovative perspectives on our residential student experience his presence will bring and look forward to our ongoing collaboration.”

Alexis Andres joined Princeton in 2011 as the director of student life at Butler College before becoming dean of Whitman College in 2016. She earned her Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Virginia, where her dissertation research focused on how the pursuit of perfection and effortless perfection impacts female college students. Andres also holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and an M.Ed. from the University of Vermont.

At Princeton, Andres helped establish the Princeton Perspective Project. She is also an academic fellow for the women’s varsity swimming team. Before arriving at Princeton, Andres was an assistant dean in the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia.

“Alexis Andres’ appointment as the inaugural dean of NCE will ensure that our newest residential college will benefit from her years of experience as the dean of Whitman College,” said Dolan. “I’m grateful for Alexis’ willingness to leave her beloved Whitman students and colleagues to help Asif establish NCE.”

“I am thrilled to join Professor Asif Ghazanfar in supporting the University’s mission to increase access to a Princeton education,” said Andres. “As the overall size of the University’s undergraduate student body expands in the coming four years, it’s an honor to be entrusted with launching Princeton’s newest residential community.”

She added: “I cannot wait to meet all the students whose intellectual interests, personal histories, and extracurricular passions will be the final architects of the New College East residential community.”

NCE will open its doors to students at the start of the 2022-23 academic year.