January 13, 2023
Ursuline College appointed Jenise M. Snyder, PhD as dean of Arts, Sciences and Professional Studies, effective January 1, 2023. She has served as interim dean since March 2022 after becoming chair of the biology department in 2020.
“Dr. Snyder has been one of our most dedicated professors for more than a decade,” said Ursuline College President Christine De Vinne, OSU, PhD. “Her commitment to our students combined with her innovative approaches to learning inside and outside the classroom makes her the ideal candidate for this leadership position and a role model for our faculty and students.”
An associate professor of biology whose research focuses on wetlands ecology, Dr. Snyder often utilizes Ursuline’s 60-acre campus as a living laboratory for her classes. Following a tornado that hit the campus in 2013, Dr. Snyder took the opportunity to have her students examine the effects of the restoration on water quality as well as monitor the ongoing effect of ecosystem management on decomposition following tornadic activity.
“Science is all around us,” notes the new dean, who spends her spare time training for triathlons and recently completed her first half Iron Man competition. “We are surrounded by chances to look at our work differently and spark curiosity that lasts a lifetime.”
Snyder grew up in Miami, Florida exploring its beaches and waterways. Like many of her Ursuline students, Snyder began her academic career at community college close to home. She initially studied finance before considering a career in education. Never one to sit still, while she attended community college, she also joined the University of Miami dance squad, the Hurricanettes. After earning an associate degree, she enrolled at Florida International University where she received a bachelor’s in biology teacher education and taught as part of NASA funded project as a pre-service STEM teacher at minority-serving schools. She went on to teach high school biology and environmental science.
“I always wanted to study science and conduct research, but I let others talk me out of it,” explains Snyder. “I didn’t have the self-esteem at that age to stand up to them and follow my dreams.”
She returned to Florida International to try her hand as a researcher. After graduating with a Master of Science in Biology, she earned a PhD in Ecology from the University of California Davis, studying wetlands in Belize. In her tenure as professor at Ursuline, she has been awarded and collaborated on several research grants from the Ohio EPA, Ohio Water Association, Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, and most recently the National Endowment for the Humanities.
She states, “One of the most exciting things about Ursuline College is being able to give back and help others find the confidence to be their best selves and follow their passion. Throughout my career, I have often felt like I didn’t fit the mold. I’ve been told that I don’t look like a scientist, much less a field ecologist. I love Ursuline for being a community that teaches and shows students how to break the mold and eliminate preconceptions and barriers for themselves.”