May 30, 2023

Dr. Jennifer Kelly: first African-American dean of the School of Education

Dr. Jennifer Kelly is the first black woman to become the Dean of Education at Capital University. In fact, she is the first Dean of Education to not be a white male. 

Considering the current social and political climate, this move to have someone with such a different background and life experience carries with it a lot of significance. Kelly grew up in North Carolina and has been working at Capital since 1999. 

Previously, Kelly was either a professor, chairperson in the school of education, or both. One of the largest differences between the current position held by Kelly and the previous position of chairperson or professor is the sheer scale. 

The education school is often referred to as a department, however, it is a school. Each kind of education has its own department, such as the History Education department and Physical Education Department.   

A large portion of Kelly’s career in the education field has been in the realm of physical education. Obviously, being the Dean of the Capital School of Education is different from teaching a gym class, however, Kelly says the same underlying principles still apply. 

Dr. Jennifer Kelly is the new Dean of Capital’s School of Education. Photo taken by Josh Conturo

“So now [with] preparing teachers, [I ask] what is your passion? So your passion is history, you can take that passion and teach others all this information you have,” Kelly said.

Another large part of how Kelly plans to work this new position to its fullest potential is by being involved in the community and knowing everything there is to know about the logistics and her coworkers.

Kelly said, “So for me, this Dean of the School of Education is not just about me, it is knowing information, the processes, the documents, reading things, empowering my colleagues to do what they want to do in terms of their profession, supporting them…we have colleagues that are writing textbooks…sitting at the table making decisions about standards at the state level, on committees on the national level, where standards are being made in teacher education.”

  • Josh Conturo is a reporter for the Chimes and a fourth-year studying Emerging Media with an emphasis on journalism, and loves all things related to cars, coffee, and comedy.

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