Last December, Columbia College Provost and Senior Vice President Dr. Piyusha Singh announced that Dr. Jennifer Jewell had been named dean of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS). Dr. Jewell officially began her CC tenure on July 1, 2022.

Dr. Jennifer Jewell

As dean of HASS, Jewell oversees the programs in the following academic departments: Humanities; Professional Studies; Social and Behavioral Sciences; and Visual Arts & Music, which cover 12 disciplines.

Before she arrived in mid-Missouri, Jewell most recently served as professor and Director of the School of Social Work at Salisbury University (SU) on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where she joined the faculty in 2014. With more than seven years of academic leadership, Jewell helped increase enrollment in the graduate and undergraduate social work programs at SU, developed innovative student support programming, and expanded the school and university’s work on diversity and equity issues.

A little over a month into her first academic school year at CC, Jewell recently sat down with CC Connected to share more about her first months as part of the Columbia College team.

CC Connected: What have been your goals and mindset thus far in the early stages of coming to the college?

Dr. Jewell: Since joining the CC community, my initial focus has been building relationships with the exemplary faculty and staff in Columbia and our more than 40 locations nationwide. Establishing trusting relationships and encouraging ongoing, open and bi-directional communication goes a long way, as I work with many different groups of people with sometimes competing needs.

CCC: What have you enjoyed the most since joining CC? Do any moments stand out?

JJ: During a recent meeting, someone referred to CC as a family. And while I’m new to the CC community, I understand the sentiment. Since starting in July, I’ve appreciated the high level of support and collaboration that I’ve experienced. I can rattle off dozens of small and significant interactions with individuals across CC who’ve helped me feel welcomed and supported during this transition.

CCC: What exciting things should the CC community look forward to this school year with the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences?

JJ: I want to hear from HASS students! Students have a unique perspective and their input helps us make better-informed decisions on our programs, practices, and policies. Given that, we will launch a HASS Dean’s Student Advisory board later in the fall. Additionally, we will seek nominations of HASS students in our Day, online, and Columbia College Global (CCG) options.

CCC: What do you hope to accomplish personally and within HASS during the fall 2022 semester?

JJ: I’m excited about the creation of new academic programs along with working to fortify our existing programs. I’ve worked closely with HASS chairs and faculty over the last two months to explore the possibilities.

CCC: What’s one thing about you that the CC community might not know?

JJ: Before relocating to Missouri, I served as mayor of my small town in Maryland (they called me “Dr. Mayor,” haha). I learned a tremendous amount about how our cities and towns function, strengthened relationships within the community, and made strides on many infrastructure projects.

I love graffiti and street art (there’s a difference). When traveling, domestically or internationally, I seek it out. This art for the people has cultural significance and is often a way for people to speak out on political, social and economic issues. I experienced some of the most profound examples of this in Greece.

CCC: What characteristics do you possess that will allow you to succeed in your new role at Columbia College?

JJ: Experienced. I have over 15 years of teaching experience in hybrid, remote, and online formats and over seven years of operating as an academic leader. I work effectively with diverse student populations, such as military-affiliated students and non-traditional students in satellite and online program options. I partner well with university leaders on mission-critical initiatives, particularly in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as recruitment and retention of faculty and students.

Committed. I’m committed to promoting a strong liberal arts education that provides a secure foundation for developing engaged and aware citizens.

Collaborative. I can build strong and strategic relationships with others, which provide the foundation for partnerships to flourish.