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Wake Forest appoints Jacquelyn Fetrow dean of the College


December 8, 2008

Wake Forest University has appointed Reynolds Professor Jacquelyn S. Fetrow as dean of the College.  The College is the undergraduate school of arts and sciences at Wake Forest.

Wake Forest Provost Jill Tiefenthaler announced Fetrow as the new dean at a faculty meeting Dec. 8.  Fetrow will begin serving as dean January 1. 

Fetrow joined the Wake Forest faculty as Reynolds Professor of Computational Biophysics in 2003.  As dean, she will retain her Reynolds professorship.

At Wake Forest, Fetrow holds concurrent faculty appointments with the Wake Forest School of Medicine and the university’s School of Biomedical Engineering and Science, a joint program between Wake Forest and Virginia Tech. 

“Dr. Fetrow epitomizes Wake Forest’s teacher-scholar ideal and is fully committed to our mission,” Tiefenthaler said.  “She understands and appreciates the value of excellent teaching in a strong liberal arts undergraduate experience.”

Fetrow has been recognized for excellence in teaching during her career.  Most recently, she received the Innovative Teaching Award in 2006 from Wake Forest’s Center for Teaching and Learning. 

Tiefenthaler added that Fetrow is a scientist who has achieved strides and breakthroughs in research at Wake Forest and other universities and institutions.  “Her work is internationally recognized and respected,” Tiefenthaler said.  

At Wake Forest, Fetrow has built a reputation for teaching and research that integrates a variety of disciplines.  For example, she and Associate Professor of Computer Science David John developed a framework for multi-disciplinary teaching that they implemented in their bioinformatics course.  Her research brings together faculty from biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, mathematics, biochemistry, molecular medicine and microbiology/immunology within several funded research programs.  She has mentored undergraduate students from several majors, including biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics.

Wake Forest’s dedication to the highest standards in teaching and research played a big part in her decision to seek the leadership role in the College.

“Wake Forest puts education of the student first and foremost; to me this is the primary mission of higher education,” said Fetrow, who recently chaired a committee developing a strategic plan for the College.

She added that “navigating these next few years will require an experienced leader” in the College.

“In a strong undergraduate college, all departments, all faculty and staff must feel valued by their leadership,” Fetrow said.  “When they do, Wake Forest can continue to be a great place to work and a place where both education and scholarship flourish. “

Fetrow gained experience as an entrepreneur before joining Wake Forest.  From 1999 to 2003, she was co-founder, chief scientific officer and director of GeneFormatics Inc. in San Diego.  Her responsibilities included overseeing all scientific research and development operations of the company.

Previously, Fetrow was associate professor and visiting scientist in the Department of Molecular Biology at The Scripps Research Institute in California.  She held associate professor and assistant professor positions in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY).  At Albany, Fetrow received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award. 

She received a doctorate in biological chemistry at The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in 1986 and a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry in 1982 at Albright College.  She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT and the University of Rochester, before beginning her first faculty appointment at Albany in 1990.

Press Contacts:

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237


Cheryl Walker
(336) 758-5237


Jacquelyn S. Fetrow
Jacquelyn S. Fetrow
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