Summer 2022 /The Power of Two/

A New Dean of the College

Professor of Computer Science Yuqing Melanie Wu, an expert in data management and query optimization whose love for teaching drew her to the liberal arts, became Pomona’s new vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College on July 1.

Melanie Wu

“I’m struck by her openness, transparency and eagerness to get input from across the College,” says Pomona College President G. Gabrielle Starr. “I know Melanie will be a key partner in supporting our talented faculty, promoting a compelling liberal arts curriculum for our students and elevating Pomona’s unique role in creating opportunity in American higher education.”

Wu arrived at Pomona in 2014 as a visiting associate professor and was hired as a tenured associate professor the following year. Her desire to devote more time to teaching led her to Pomona after serving as a faculty member at research institutions. That pursuit of excellence in the classroom was recognized in 2021 when Wu received the Wig Award for teaching, the highest honor faculty members can receive at Pomona.

Her leadership experience includes numerous Pomona faculty and academic committees and consortium-wide task
forces for computer science. She chaired Pomona’s Computer Science Department from 2017 to 2020. She recently completed a 2021-22 fellowship with the American Council on Education (ACE), a comprehensive and rigorous leadership program in higher education.

At Pomona, she is a member of the Global Pomona Project steering committee, a group tasked with shaping Pomona’s role in the world for decades to come. As a first-generation immigrant and a woman of color in the field of computer science, Wu notes that she “is keenly aware of the challenges people with diverse backgrounds face. It’s important to recognize that pursuing diversity, equity and inclusion is a journey of lifelong learning for all.”

Wu earned her B.S. and M.S. in computer science from Peking University in China. She went on to receive an M.S. from Indiana University Bloomington and her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

She succeeds Professor of Geology Robert Gaines, who has served as dean of the College since 2019.

View Dean Wu’s video message to the Pomona community at