Announcing UC Santa Cruz's new director of Summer Session

April 08, 2024


jenngallacher_portrait.jpgThe Division of Undergraduate Education is pleased to announce the appointment of Jennifer Gallacher as the new Director of UC Santa Cruz’s Summer Session Office, effective April 1st. Jennifer has been serving as the Interim Director since February 2023, and her exceptional leadership during this period has made her the ideal candidate to lead Summer Session.

Jennifer’s commitment to higher education is rooted in her experience as a first-generation college student. This experience has instilled in her a belief in the transformative power of education, which she says motivates her to always put students first.

Throughout her tenure at UC Santa Cruz, Jennifer has consistently championed student needs, fostering cross-campus collaborations to build out student-centered initiatives like Summer Edge, the early start program for incoming students, and Pay for Only 10, which allows UC undergraduates to make summer degree progress less expensive.

Describing her excitement for the role, Jennifer said, "Over the past decade of working at UCSC, I’ve had the honor of witnessing our office improve the university experience for students. The individual success stories of summer helping students start early or graduate on time or even ahead of schedule, are so motivational—I’m most excited about building on the tremendous foundation that the current team has already created."

The Summer Session Director is responsible for strategic campus and systemwide leadership, developing and maintaining strong relationships with all academic departments, colleges, and divisions, and leveraging these collaborations in developing new and refined summer courses, curricula, programs, and initiatives. The director leads a department of four additional career staff and more than 20 student staff, and reports directly to the Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education.

The fourth quarter of instruction, summer quarter, serves students throughout UCSC and UC, as well as prospective students seeking to get ahead and students considering transfer to UCSC. For our faculty and graduate students, summer quarter can be a time to engage in smaller classes than in other terms, or to offer courses in different ways and modalities, including in-person, online, and at locations around the world. In close partnership with the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, UCSC undergraduates, new and continuing, have significant access to financial aid in summer in support of their studies.

Jennifer’s vision for Summer Session is centered on accessibility, flexibility, and experiential learning. She plans to work with departments to optimize course offerings, providing students with the flexibility they need to graduate on time—whether through online, evening, or unique in-person experiences. She is also excited to develop experiential learning opportunities that showcase the Banana Slug life for a diverse, global audience.

Jennifer first joined the Division of Undergraduate Education in 2013 and worked in Enrollment Management before moving into a marketing and communications role in Summer Session. She was promoted to assistant director in 2020 and became interim director in 2023.

Before coming to UCSC, Jennifer spent thirteen years as the director of marketing and promotion for the late Grammy award-winning solo pianist George Winston. During that time, she also co-founded Santa Cruz Rehearsal Studios and has since built the studio into a thriving local business. Jennifer’s experiences in fiscal management and business have taught her how to evaluate existing operations, reconsider priorities, and re-allocate limited budget resources to meet goals.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Jennifer is deeply engaged in our community, volunteering with organizations such as Live Oak Little League and the Arts Council Santa Cruz County. She is a lifetime member of the Monterey Bay Swimming Association and a part-time mermaid. When she’s not working or being a baseball mom, you can find her in the ocean, open-water swimming, or bodysurfing.

Please join us in congratulating Jennifer Gallacher on her new role as Director of UC Santa Cruz’s Summer Session. 


Search Committee:

  • Michelle Whittingham, Associate Vice Chancellor, Enrollment Management, Committee Chair
  • Alex McCafferty, Campus Budget Director, Budget Analysis and Planning
  • Danielle Ditmars, Senior Department Manager, Computer Science and Engineering Department
  • Alice Michel, Director of Global Mobility, Division of Global Engagement
  • Aaron Zachmeier, Assistant Director for Instructional Design and Development, Teaching and Learning Center
  • Elani Zissimopoulos, Assistant Vice Provost/Assistant Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education and Division of Global Engagement