Office of the Assistant Dean, Santa Fe

walpin.jpgAssistant Dean: Mr. Edward Walpin, 505-984-6925

Director of Residential Life: Mr. Matt Johnston, 505-984-6087

"At St. John's, you can't major in what you're good at—you have to do everything. That will push you out of your comfort zone, and then your comfort zone will expand."

- Assistant Dean Ned Walpin

One of the main reasons Ned Walpin, the assistant dean of students, wanted to teach at St. John's was because he wanted to study a variety of things without being constrained by the norms of specialization. He majored in political science at Middlebury College and then went on to earn a MA and PhD in political philosophy from Duke University, as well as an MA in English from Middlebury College's Breadloaf School of English. His dissertation was on Nietzsche. "I'd become interested in literary philosophic questions, questions about aesthetics and form and what kind of insights you can gain from them, rather than simply through logical deductions. Nietzsche is very powerful in that because he does not write like a systematic philosopher," he explained.

Before he came to St. John's in 1999, Mr. Walpin was an exchange fellow and instructor at the Institut für Politische Wissenschaft, Friedrick-Alexander Universität, in Erlangen, Germany; fellow, instructor, and project coordinator in the Kenan Ethics Program at Duke University; and a consultant for PBS Frontline. Though he finds having to choose unpleasant, he cites The Machine in the Garden, by Leo Marx, and War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy, as among his favorite books. "I don't really think this way," he said. "Whatever I'm with at the moment becomes the thing that totally animates me."

Mr. Walpin, who played Jazz drums and is learning to play Jazz piano, grew up in Great Neck, Long Island. He is the middle of three children, in between two sisters. He and his wife, Cynthia, who has taught college-level political science and worked as an accountant, have a seven-year-old daughter. As the assistant dean, Mr. Walpin deals with all kinds of academic issues and oversees residential life and disciplinary issues, student activities, campus security, dining services, and all other aspects of the student experience. He is especially sympathetic to students who take some time adjusting to the math and science portion of the Program, as well as students who need guidance in how to work collaboratively rather than competitively to have the right answer. Prior to coming to St. John's, where Mr. Walpin's eyes were opened to the beauty of mathematical thought, he was entirely locked up around math. "Now math is my favorite part of the Program. I can do vector calculus," he said. "The thing is that there's no student who is simply good at everything. It's not possible. But at St. John's, you can't major in what you're good at—you have to do everything. That will push you out of your comfort zone, and then your comfort zone will expand. I see students develop bravery from that, a confidence that is beautiful to watch. They learn openness to the world and to use their minds in a way that is deeply creative and thoughtful."


The Assistant Dean is responsible for all aspects of student life and is often the first person to whom students turn when they encounter problems. Because the Assistant Dean is a tutor, he or she is able to offer advice about matters related to the classroom and to academic matters in general. Working directly with the Assistant Dean is the Director of Student Services, who oversees areas of campus life such as housing and student activities. Both help students learn how to live together in a small academic community and both are available talk over issues related to campus life, health or safety, or personal matters. They may also refer students to both on and off campus resources. Together the Assistant Dean and Director of Student Services help to uphold the standards of conduct the St. John's Community sets for itself.

Title IX Coordinator

The Assistant Dean is the Title IX Coordinator for the College. The policies and protocols concerning sexual misconduct can be found in the Student Handbook, Appendices I - III.

Students with Disabilities

Students who would like to request accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act should submit the Disabilities Registration Form to the Assistant Dean, Mr. Walpin.

The Disabilities Registration Form must be filled out by the student making the request; it can be submitted on line or printed and mailed to the address on the form. If you cannot include an electronic signature with an on line submission, you will receive a request for confirmation; we must receive a reply to this before we can act on your request. The form is accompanied by two sets of guidelines for submitting documentation in support of requests for accommodation.

Suggested submission dates appear on the form. You may submit a request for accommodation at any time; because some requests take longer to respond to than others, we suggest that you make your request as early as possible.

Please contact either Mr. Walpin if you have any questions about this matter.