Julia Jasken, the provost at McDaniel College, will become the 10th president of the 154-year-old institution June 1 and the second woman to lead the school. She has been part of McDaniel since 2003, when she was an English professor specializing in new media pedagogy and teaching a variety of professional writing courses.
For the past eight years, Jasken rose in the ranks within the college’s administration, most recently serving as the college’s executive vice president and provost, overseeing both academic and student life.
The Times caught up with Jasken to ask about her time as provost and what she hopes to accomplish as president.
Q: How would you describe your last year as provost?
A: My priority throughout much of this last year has been leading the college’s Return to the Hill planning efforts. Throughout the COVID pandemic, the safety and well-being of our campus community has been at the forefront of every decision that has been made. We also spent a lot of time thinking through creative ways to maintain our close-knit community for which McDaniel is known. I am extremely grateful to our exceptional faculty who literally transformed and reimagined their courses to ensure that students were still able to receive the benefits of in-person, small-class instruction, even for students attending class virtually. Our students also did an amazing job following the health and safety protocols in place to ensure that we could continue to have an on-campus, in-person experience this year.
The second important priority for the college was to continue moving forward cross-divisional efforts related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) on campus. I led the college’s DEI administrative team which includes representatives from Campus Life, Academic Life, Institutional Advancement, Admissions, Communication and Marketing, and Human Resources.
Q: What do you look forward to the most as president?
A: I look forward to having the opportunity to build and expand upon many of the initiatives that I have helped establish at McDaniel. Over the past few years, I have seen our partnerships with the city and county continue to grow through the College’s signature program, the McDaniel Commitment. I am excited to be able to further develop and cultivate these partnerships, as well as lead the fundraising efforts needed to support new program development. I am also looking forward to having a more active everyday role in working with students, as well as connecting with our wonderful alumni living in Maryland and beyond.
Q: What’s something you learned as a provost that you think will help you in your presidency?
A: During my 17 years at McDaniel, I have had the opportunity to work from many different sides of the college and I have learned so much from each of these experiences. I think what I have valued most are the collaborative relationships that I have developed throughout my years at the college that have led me to where I am today.
Q: What is your first, or first few, priorities for McDaniel as the new president?
A: This summer, I am looking forward to meeting with members of the Westminster community to discuss how we can both strengthen existing partnerships and grow new ones. On campus, we will be welcoming three new members to the senior leadership team and laying the groundwork for the college’s strategic planning process that will officially launch in the fall. I will also be continuing to work with our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Administrative team on moving forward the institution’s focus on anti-racism. We have made steady progress over the last several months, but there is always more work to be done to ensure McDaniel College is the most welcoming, equitable and inclusive community possible.
Q: What’s something you’d want students, faculty, staff and the campus community to know about you or learn from you?
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A: As I begin my presidency, I am excited to look ahead to the future of McDaniel and all of the possibilities that lie ahead for our institution. I, along with my husband, David, and two sons, are looking forward to moving on to campus this summer and being more active in the day-to-day life of the campus. I am also looking forward to having the opportunity to continue to listen and learn from our students and alumni.