Introducing HMC’s Interim VP for Student Affairs

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

As was communicated by Maria Klawe on June 9, the College has been working on a student affairs leadership transition plan. The College looked for an experienced student affairs leader to help on an interim basis through this one-year transition period until the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) can begin. During the 2023-2024 academic year, I plan to launch a national search for this role, with the goal of having that person start before the fall 2024 semester. 

As previously announced, in selecting the interim VP, an Interim VPSA Interview Committee (Committee) was formed. The Committee was co-chaired by Andrew Dorantes and me. Committee members included: Kayleah Tsai ’24 (ASHMC President), Lea Twicken ’25 (Disciplinary Board Chair), Henry Hammer ’24 (ASHMC Senate Chair), Karl Haushalter (Seeley W. Mudd Professor of Chemistry and Biology and Department Chair), Nancy Lape (James Howard Kindelberger Professor of Engineering and Department Chair), Theresa Lauer (Senior Director for Facilities, Emergency Preparedness and Safety), Michelle Harrison (Associate Dean of Health and Wellness), and Gabriela Gamiz (Director of Civic and Community Engagement). 

I am appreciative to all the members of the Committee for working collaboratively, thoughtfully and expeditiously so they would be in the best position to nominate a strong candidate when I arrived in July. Their efforts have allowed us to fill this interim position before the beginning of the fall semester.

I also want to acknowledge and thank AVP for Student Affairs and Title IX Coordinator Jennifer Alanis for her assistance in partnering with Andrew Dorantes and other Cabinet members to address operational matters during the leadership transition in DSA.

After considering feedback from those that interviewed the finalists (i.e. Committee, Cabinet members, Chair of the Trustee Student Affairs Committee), as well as feedback from the candidates’ references, an offer was made to Cynthia (Cindy) Martinez to serve as HMC’s Interim Vice President for Student Affairs.  

I am pleased to announce that Cindy has accepted our offer and will begin July  31, 2023. Cindy brings over 20 years of academic and student affairs leadership experience. At Keck Graduate Institute (KGI), she served most recently as the Associate Dean of the Community Medicine Program/Professor of Practice at KGI, developing and implementing the strategic vision for the Master of Science in Community medicine program. At KGI, she was the Dean of Students for five years, providing strategic leadership for Academic Support Services, Career Services, Student Accessibility Services, Orientation Services, Student Activities, Student Conduct, Student Housing, Student Health Insurance, Student Government, Student Occupational Therapy Services, Student Wellness and Title IX. Given her roles at KGI, Cindy has extensive knowledge and experience working collaboratively with The Claremont Colleges Services and other Claremont colleges. Cindy previously worked at USC as the Interim Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and as the Executive Director for Graduate and Undergraduate Advisement and Academic Services.  Cindy holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Cal Poly Pomona; a Master of Education in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from USC; and a PhD in Organizational Leadership from the University of San Diego. 

In her HMC role, Cindy will partner with the President’s Cabinet and Division of Student Affairs (DSA) staff to lead day-to-day student affairs operations. She will also be working with Cabinet and DSA to begin addressing issues identified in the DSA External Review report that was shared with our community on June 14, 2023. 

The following were some comments from members of the Committee:

  • Dr. Martinez was able to build rapport quickly, had a natural excitement and curiosity towards student affairs, especially as it integrates into the fabric of HMC…Dr. Martinez has an understanding of the Claremont Consortium given her experience working within the Claremont Colleges network…It would be an honor to collaborate and work alongside Dr. Martinez.
  • Her depth of experience in a variety of different academic units showed adaptability and the ability to hit the ground running quickly, which I think will be important for the interim VPSA.

Please join me in welcoming Cindy to our community. 



Harriet B. Nembhard
President, Harvey Mudd College