Jo Ellen Parker ’75 to lead Sweet Briar College

Posted February 6th, 2009 at 10:54 am.

parkerJo Ellen Johnson Parker ’75 will become the 10th president of Sweet Briar College on July 1, Sweet Briar’s board of directors has announced.

Sweet Briar, a liberal-arts college in central Virginia, was founded in 1901 and serves a population of about 800 students in a women’s undergraduate college and a coeducational graduate program in education. Parker will replace President Elisabeth Showalter Muhlenfeld, who is retiring after 13 years at Sweet Briar’s helm.

Parker, who earned a Ph.D. in English literature at the University of Pennsylvania after graduating from Bryn Mawr, taught and served as a dean at Bryn Mawr from 1984 to 1996. From 1996 to 2004, she was president of the 12-institution Great Lakes Colleges Association, where she promoted pedagogical innovation, helped establish best practices in recruiting faculty of color, and spearheaded an initiative to explore new models in international education. She is currently the executive director of the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education, an international organization serving nearly 150 liberal arts colleges in the United States and abroad through faculty and professional development programs and support services.

A scholar of Victorian literature, Parker has published work on the novelist George Eliot as well as topics such as academic collaboration, teaching writing, and the use of technology in education. For several years, she regularly broadcast commentary on higher education for National Public Radio.

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