Jennifer Drake, Ph.D.

Title: Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences 

Office: B-4-232 MAK

Phone: (616) 331-2495

Fax: (616) 331-3675

Email:  [email protected] 

Jennifer Drake, PhD


In collaboration with the many leaders in our large college, the dean is appointing officer with ultimate responsibility for the welfare of the faculty, staff, and students of CLAS.  The dean oversees and facilitates the work of the college office and units to produce strategic and transparent processes that produce a healthy environment for teaching and learning, scholarly and creative activity, and service which undergirds the human resources and initiatives that are the hallmarks of excellence in liberal education.

Acting as a representative of our college in dialog with the university and wide community, the dean promotes and propels the vision of the college, produced in collaboration with faculty and staff governance, unit leadership, and advisory committees. This vision is the basis for the dean’s allocation of resources, pursuit of strategic partnerships, and advocacy on behalf of programs.


Jennifer A. Drake received her B.A. from Brown University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in English the from State University of New York at Binghamton.  She earned the rank of Professor in the English Department at the University of Indianapolis and has served in a wide range of posts including at the University of Indianapolis as the Founding Director of the Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship Program and Dean of the Shaheen College of Arts and Sciences, and most recently as Provost and Vice-President for Student & Academic Life at The Evergreen State College (2017-2020). 

She is the author of numerous book chapters and articles and was co-editor (with Leslie Heywood) of Third Wave Agenda: Being Feminist, Doing Feminism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997).

In her work, Jen has prioritized enhancing student engagement and success; creating and sustaining strong academic programs; supporting faculty and staff professional development; promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion; collaborating with community partners; and ensuring accountability to stakeholders.

A proponent of lifelong learning, Jen was a Fellow of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership, Arizona State University and Georgetown University, 2019-2020. She also attended the Seminar on Leadership of the Faculty: A COACHE Program at the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education, 2019.  In her free moments, she exercises her love of poetry and enjoys exploring city neighborhoods and the great outdoors with her family.


Page last modified August 26, 2021