Provost with Passion
While playing school as a kid, Julia Jasken '93 always played teacher. Her neighborhood was her classroom and her grandmother was her role model. As she grew up, her passion for teaching never subsided.
Julia, a native of Moorhead, Minn., found her fit at Saint Ben's. The small liberal arts environment allowed her to form relationships with professors, including Professor Jon Hassler, a distinguished author. She edited and contributed to the on-campus literary journal and was a member of Amnesty International. She also found friendships that would last a lifetime. She graduated from Saint Ben's with a major in English, a minor in communication and a determination to continue on her education journey.
From Saint Ben's, she headed to Northern Illinois University earning her master's degree in English with an emphasis on rhetoric and women's studies. From there, she went on to complete her Ph.D. in rhetoric and technical communication at Michigan Technological University.
Upon receiving her Ph.D., Julia knew she wanted to teach at the college level. "There is just this wonderful energy when you have young adults that are moving into their own independence," comments Julia.
In 2003, she began as a professor in the English department at McDaniel College. "It was probably within 20 minutes of being on campus at McDaniel that I realized the fit was just perfect. It was just like Saint Ben's with a similar type of small-town atmosphere, a student-centered place where students could come and feel welcome."
After nearly 10 years of teaching, Julia's passion for the liberal arts and for students launched her into leadership roles at the administration level. From 2011-2014, Julia served as director of the Center for Experience and Opportunity before being named McDaniel's first associate provost in 2014. "For me the transition from teaching and being a professor to administrative work has to do with the ability to make an impact on a larger level. We are making sure that the institution continues to thrive so that the professors who are here can continue to provide opportunities for students. I feel like it's a natural extension."
She attributes her ability to excel as a teacher and now as an administrator to her solid foundation in the liberal arts. "So few of us are in the position we expected we would be in as graduates. The liberal arts pedagogy enables people to be resilient and thrive and be flexible and continue to do well for themselves."
Julia was named provost and dean of the faculty of McDaniel College in February 2016. In this position, she hopes to continue engaging students and strengthening the institution. Armed with a passion for higher education and rooted in her Benedictine leadership style, Julia will continue to inspire and motivate the students, faculty and community of McDaniel College.