After serving for 16 years as Trumbull College master, Janet Henrich announced Monday that she plans to step down at the end of the 2012-’13 academic year.

In an email sent to the Trumbull community, Henrich said she and Associate Master Victor Henrich will leave their posts to take a year-long sabbatical before returning to campus to teach, conduct research and perform clinical care. During her tenure, Henrich oversaw Trumbull’s 2006 renovation and the reopening of the basement’s pottery studio. Trumbull students interviewed said they have appreciated Henrich’s demonstrated interest in student initiatives, noting that she is a visible presence within the college.

“When I first started my medical school interviews, she sat down and talked extensively with me,” Syed Hussaini ’13 said. “I don’t think many other administrators at Yale would take the time to so personally advise me.”

Trumbull College Dean Jasmina Besirevic-Regan said she was previously aware that Henrich was considering leaving her position, adding that she “cannot imagine the Trumbull community without Master Henrich’s leadership.” Besirevic-Regan said she thinks Henrich decided to step down because she has served as master for over a decade and would like to shift her focus back to teaching. Henrich could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Three students interviewed said that to further engage with Trumbull students, Henrich founded the Living History project — an initiative that brings 16 Trumbull students to Yale-New Haven Hospital every other week to get to know patients on a personal level during their hospital stay. Participant Daniel Shao ’15 said the information students gather is passed on to doctors, giving them a more holistic view of their patients so they can choose the most effective treatments. He added that Henrich’s departure leaves Living History’s connection to Trumbull uncertain.

“We want the project to continue to be a uniquely Trumbull initiative, but we will no longer have the distinction of saying that our master runs the program,” Shao said.

Fourteen of 23 students interviewed said they were surprised by Monday’s announcement, while nine students said they had heard rumors of Master Henrich’s possible departure.

Sudhakar Nuti ’13 said he was “shocked” by the email because Henrich has been an integral part of his residential college experience.

Henrich said in her email that University President Richard Levin will appoint a committee to select the new master, but she did not specify when.

Four students interviewed said they hope the new master will be interested in students’ personal and social lives and not simply their academic interests. Nicholas Goel ’16 said he would like to see a more youthful and accessible master chosen as Henrich’s replacement.

“I want someone who is very visible and has a lot of energy,” he said.

Henrich is a professor of general medicine and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences.