Drake named dean for Arts & Sciences

After a national search, the University of Indianapolis has selected Jennifer Drake, professor of English, to be dean of its College of Arts & Sciences.


Dr. Drake has served since August 2011 as acting dean of the college, which is UIndy’s largest academic unit, comprising 14 departments in the humanities, sciences, social sciences and fine arts. It includes public radio station WICR-88.7 FM/HD, the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center, the Archeology & Forensics Laboratory and the Indiana Prehistory Laboratory.

Drake joined the UIndy faculty in 2004 as an associate professor, and in 2008 she was named director of the university’s Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship, a nationally acclaimed master’s degree program that prepares career-changers and recent graduates to teach math and science in high-need schools.

In her short tenure as acting dean, her work has included launching initiatives to develop student-run agencies, improve academic advising, promote interdisciplinary studies and expand undergraduate research opportunities, said Dr. Deborah Balogh, the university’s executive vice president and provost.

“Dr. Drake has proven adept as an administrator as well as a scholar and teacher,” Balogh said. “She is already leading the college toward greater student engagement, and we’re eager to see that process continue.”

A native of upstate New York, Drake holds an undergraduate degree from Brown University and master’s and doctoral degrees from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Her academic work has explored literature and culture, with an emphasis on female and African-American writers. She is co-editor with Leslie Heywood of Third Wave Agenda: Being Feminist, Doing Feminism from University of Minnesota Press, and she has published widely on urban teacher education as well as literary and cultural studies.

Drake, who lives on Indianapolis’ northeast side with her husband and daughter, said she looks forward to working with her colleagues to enhance the student experience in the College of Arts & Sciences. 

“The CAS faculty are incredibly creative and productive, and they’re quite dedicated teachers,” she said. “I’ve been so impressed by their contributions during my time as acting dean, and that was one of the reasons I chose to apply for the position.”