Jean Avnet Morse, former president of Middle States, is New Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

NEW YORK, December 3, 2009 —Jean Avnet Morse, who served for 13 years as president and CEO of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, will become the new Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS), beginning in January 2010. 

In this newly created position, Morse will oversee the quality and timeliness of the NYU-SCPS undergraduate, graduate, and continuing professional education programs, and guide programmatic innovation and collaboration across the School’s eight divisions. She will also oversee enhanced student academic support and counseling services.

During her tenure from 1996 to 2009 as head of Middle States—which accredits nearly 500 colleges and universities in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—Morse was chief liaison to member institutions, government, and the general public, led in creating and revising the Commission’s policies and programs, and directed its research and training activities. Her initiatives included creating new accreditation standards that emphasize student learning and that address distance learning and other non-traditional types of teaching and learning. 

Before joining Middle States, she served as deputy to the president of the University of Pennsylvania and deputy associate dean and director of the College Office (the senior administrative dean) at Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to that, Morse was associate dean for administration at NYU Law School, under then-dean (now NYU President) John Sexton.

“There are few individuals in the landscape of American higher education better equipped than Jean Morse to assume this important leadership role within the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies,” said NYU-SCPS Dean Robert S. Lapiner.

“Her experience and familiarity with the full range of higher education institutions, including her depth of knowledge and respect for the place of distance learning and continuing education, as well as traditional undergraduate, adult undergraduate, and graduate professional programs, are comprehensive and will assist NYU-SCPS in demonstrating the most rigorous standards as we innovate in our existing and future offerings.” 

“I am delighted to be joining the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies,” said Jean Morse. “The School has rightfully earned a reputation as a developer of leading-edge academic programs, and I am eager to help forward its important mission, which I believe is increasingly important and exciting in today’s rapidly changing ‘knowledge society’.”

Jean Morse began her professional career as a corporate attorney. She was a partner in two Los Angeles firms, Hufstedler, Miller, Carlson & Beardsley, and Kaplan, Livingston, Goodwin, Berkowitz and Selvin, before transitioning into a career in academia.

Morse has taught in the sociology and women studies departments at the University of Pennsylvania. While there she also served as acting assistant provost and strategic planning consultant to the School of Arts and Sciences’ committees on undergraduate education, graduate education, and lifelong learning.

Morse has published in the field of higher education quality assurance, and has frequently been a featured lecturer and expert consultant, nationally and internationally. She has served on several boards of directors, including the board of the International Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, where she headed revision of international guidelines of good practice for quality assurance agencies and also directed a World Bank project to create a program to train quality assurance professionals. She founded the Individual Rights Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

Morse is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wellesley College, where she earned a B.S in History with High Honors, and was both a Trustee Fellow and a Durant Scholar. She graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School.

About the NYU School of Professional Studies

Established in 1934, the NYU School of Professional Studies ( is one of NYU's several degree-granting schools and colleges, each with a unique academic profile. The reputation of the School of Professional Studies arises from its place as the NYU home for study and applied research related to key knowledge-based industries where the New York region leads globally. This is manifest in the School's diverse graduate, undergraduate, and Professional Pathways programs in fields such as Accounting, Finance, and Law; Applied Health; Arts, Design, and Film; Creative Cities and Economic Development; English-Language Learning; Entrepreneurship; Fundraising and Grantmaking; Global Affairs; Hospitality and Tourism Management; Human Resource Management and Development; Languages and Humanities; Management and Systems; Marketing; Project Management; Public Relations and Corporate Communication; Publishing; Real Estate, Real Estate Development, and Construction Management; Sports Management, Media, and Business; Translation; and Writing.

More than 100 distinguished full-time faculty members collaborate with an exceptional cadre of practitioner/adjunct faculty members and lecturers to create a vibrant professional and academic environment that educates over 5,000 degree-seeking students from around the globe each year. In addition, the School fulfills the recurrent professional education needs of local, national, and international economies, as evidenced by nearly 28,000 Professional Pathways enrollments in Career Advancement Courses and Diploma Programs. The School's community is enriched by more than 31,000 degree-holding alumni worldwide, many of whom serve as mentors, guest speakers, and advisory board members. For more information about the NYU School of Professional Studies, visit