WFU appoints Jackie Krassas as dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Wake Forest University has appointed Jackie Krassas, Ph.D., as the new dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, effective July 1. A highly regarded scholar in sociology and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, Krassas comes to Wake Forest from Lehigh University, where she currently serves as vice chancellor for faculty affairs.

“Dr. Krasas brings extensive scholarship, teaching and administrative experience to his role as dean,” said Wake Forest President Susan R. Wente. “I am confident that she will further enhance and expand Wake Forest’s reputation for academic and research excellence while developing new ways to ensure that our faculty and students thrive.”

Krassas will assume a new role for the university that includes oversight of both the Undergraduate College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The college has 30 academic departments and 16 interdisciplinary programs. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers 30 master’s and doctoral programs.

“Dr. Krassas is an outstanding academic leader. She has a remarkable talent for integrating ideas and programs, fostering collaboration and creating sustainable structures that support the best teaching, learning and research at the undergraduate and graduate levels,” said Provost Michele Gillespie. “I could not be more pleased that Jackie will lead our college and graduate school.”

President Wente and Provost Gillespie announced Krassas’ appointment today in an email to the campus community.

“Stepping into the role of dean at Wake Forest feels like a natural confluence of many areas of academic life that have been so important to me throughout my career,” Krassas said. “What particularly drew me to Wake Forest is the commitment to the teacher-scholar model, the strong liberal arts foundation and, of course, the vibrant practice of Pro Humanitate.”

As vice chancellor at Lehigh, Krasas led a team that managed the full range of faculty employment, including recruitment and tenure, faculty development, and promotion and tenure, and led several major initiatives, including a salary equity study of faculty and a university-wide comparative study. Under her leadership, Lehigh joined the Aspire IChange Network and became a partner in a multi-institutional effort funded by the National Science Foundation that aims to increase racial diversity among STEM faculty and provide a foundation for inclusive teaching and mentoring across the institution.

Krasas has extensive experience in interdisciplinary work. She served as associate dean for interdisciplinary programs and international initiatives for six years, after leading the university’s women’s, gender, and sexuality studies program for nearly a decade.

Krassas’ scholarship focuses on gender, race and employment inequality, work and family, sexual harassment, and nonstandard work. Her 2000 book Temps: The Many Faces of the Changing Workplace analyzed the rise of temporary employment and the experiences of temporary workers in terms of race, gender, power and identity. Her most recent book, Still a Mother (2021), sheds light on modern motherhood through the lens of reproductive justice regarding child custody.

She has taught a variety of courses from introductory sociology and research methods to seminars focused on social theory and workplace inequalities. She will hold a faculty appointment at Wake Forest in the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Krassas earned a bachelor’s degree in social relations from Lehigh and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology with a major in gender studies from the University of Southern California. Prior to arriving at Lehigh, she served for 10 years as a faculty member in the Department of Labor and Employment Relations at Penn State, where she also directed the Master’s Program in Industrial Relations and Human Resources.

The search committee was chaired by Gillespie and Dean Franco, director of the Institute for the Humanities and Winifred W. Palmer Professor of English.

“Dr. Krassas impressed the search committee with his skills as a thorough and attentive listener and a very effective communicator,” Franco said. “She is a brilliant scholar who understands the core value of a liberal arts education and can help guide us as we grow and evolve to meet new challenges.”

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