CalArts Names Kafele J. Khalfani, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Experience and Chief Student Affairs Officer

CalArts Names Kafele J. Khalfani, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Experience and Chief Student Affairs Officer

VALENCIA, CALIF. (November 8, 2021) — Kafele J. Khalfani, Ed.D., has been appointed Vice President of Student Experience (VPSE) and Chief Student Affairs Officer at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). A proven student affairs leader with a 20-year record of leadership enabling student success, Khalfani will assume his new position on January 5, 2022. 

“Kafele has a deep understanding of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, and cultural  backgrounds of students. He is committed to advancing an on and off-campus experience that centers on student development and the honing of an artistic practice for all students,” said CalArts President Ravi Rajan. “He appreciates the experimental ethos of CalArts and he will play a vital role in helping students navigate the shifting landscapes of society.”

As VPSE, Khalfani will report to Rajan and will be responsible for the offices at the Institute that deliver the student support services and offerings that form the core of the non-academic and developmental engagement with students, which includes articulating the overarching vision and strategy for this important work.

“CalArts students benefit from radical openness, collaboration and cross-disciplinary opportunities. It’s no wonder you find the school’s alums at the forefront of the arts across the world,” said Khalfani. “I am committed to providing the support and guidance necessary for the next generation of CalArtians to develop as artists and leaders.”  

Khalfani comes to CalArts with vast experience in higher education, specifically student development, campus and community engagement, residential education, diversity and inclusion, project leadership, personnel training and development, institutional risk management, and institutional advancement. His experience includes serving as Dean of Student Affairs at Warren College at the University of California, San Diego; in a consultant role to the market research firm Smarty Pants as Dean of Diversity/Head of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Academy; and posts as Director, New Student Programs & Residence Life at the College of Staten Island, and Assistant Director for Residence Life, Staffing & Training at UC Riverside.

He earned an Ed.D. in Higher Education from the University of Southern California, an MFA from Loyola Marymount University in Screenwriting, an MA in Advertising from Michigan State University and a BS in Marketing from Syracuse University. Khalfani has also held leadership roles and been active in numerous professional organizations including American College Personnel Association, Association of College and University Housing Officers-International, NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and Western Association of College and University Housing Officers.

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California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions. As successive generations of faculty and alumni have helped shape the landscape of contemporary arts, the Institute first envisioned by Walt Disney encompasses a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange among artists, artistic disciplines and cultural traditions.