Jennifer Wolch served as the first female dean of the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley from 2009-2019. During her time as the dean, she made significant contributions in the CED’s curriculum, research, diversity, and the physical learning environment. Her work has tightened the links of the multiple disciplines offered by the departments in CED and fostered a sense of community within the school. There were also improvements made in both undergraduate and graduate experiences with the addition of Sustainable Environmental Design Major, Master of Real Estate Development & Design program, and the introduction of cross-campus academic offerings. Furthermore, she improved the physical learning experience by renovating and adding a new gallery, student study hub, digital fabrication labs, and café in Wurster Hall. Wolch was successful in bringing over 20 diverse exceptional faculty into CED. After stepping down from her position as the dean, she continues to teach as a professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning.
Before coming to UC Berkeley in 2009, Wolch served as the Dean of Graduate Programs at University of Southern California where she also served as the director for the USC Center for Sustainable Cities. In Los Angeles, she led the Los Angeles Homelessness Project, funded by the National Science Foundation from 1987 to 1994.
Wolch has written over 140 academic publications and published several books. Her recent research focuses on sustainable urbanism, urban design and public health, homelessness, and animal-society relations. She was awarded from American Planning Association, USC’s Raubenheimer Award for Faculty Excellence in Research, Teaching and Service, and received Fellowship from the Guggenheim foundation and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Study Center.
She holds a doctorate degree in urban planning from Princeton University and bachelor’s degree in anthropology and master’s degree in geography from California State University, Hayward.