Jennifer Friend named dean of WSU College of Applied Studies


Dr. Jennifer Friend has been named dean of Wichita State University’s College of Applied Studies (CAS), effective Jan. 9, 2023.

Friend comes to Wichita State from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, where she is the associate provost for Academic Affairs and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Her 30 years in higher education also includes educational leadership roles such as dean, educational leadership program coordinator and faculty member, PreK-12 principal and language arts teacher.

At Wichita State, Friend will focus on supporting culturally responsive learning, research opportunities and community engagement, with an emphasis on diversity, integrity, collaboration, discovery and leadership.

“The College of Applied Studies is uniquely positioned to have a significant impact on enhancing student access and success, promoting innovations in inclusive digital learning and interdisciplinary academic programs, and advancing funded research that is co-constructed with industry and community partners,” says Friend.

Friend has been at Rockhurst since 2017. Previously, she spent 12 years at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), where she was associate dean of the School of Graduate Studies, interim deputy provost, interim director of university assessment, and associate and assistant professor of educational leadership.

She worked in the Shawnee Mission School District from 1992-2005.

Some of the strengths that made Friend stand out are her skills in interdisciplinary program innovation and assessment, as well as experience with promoting a culture of inclusive excellence in an urban-serving public university in the Midwest.

“Dr. Friend’s experience and vision align perfectly with the goals of CAS, namely to advance the academic quality and profile of the college through visionary leadership, strategic planning, interdisciplinary collaboration, ethical governance, and skillful human and financial resource management,” says Dr. Shirley Lefever, WSU executive vice president and provost.

Friend holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Urban Leadership and Policy Studies in Education, and Curriculum and Instructional Leadership from UMKC.

Wichita State University is Kansas' only urban public research university, enrolling almost 22,000 students between its main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.

Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.

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