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On June 1, 2021, Dr. Julia Jasken became the 10th president of McDaniel College and the second woman president in the college’s 154-year history. She has dedicated nearly her entire professional life to higher education and most notably to McDaniel, beginning in the classroom in 2003 as an English professor specializing in new media pedagogy and teaching a variety of professional writing courses.

Over her tenure at McDaniel, Dr. Jasken has assumed increasing responsibility in administrative positions, serving the college’s executive vice president and provost immediately preceding her presidency. Her expertise spans community engagement; new academic program development; academic and campus life restructuring; student success initiatives; oversight of institutional diversity, equity and inclusion efforts; adjunct faculty union contract negotiations; and building and supporting a culture of safety compliance.

Education and Personal

Dr. Julia Jasken and family

Dr. Julia Jasken with her husband, Dr. David Colquhoun, and their two sons, Iain (17) and Kyle (12).

A native of Moorhead, Minn., Dr. Jasken earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., and a master’s degree from Northern Illinois University. She received her Ph.D. from Michigan Technological University; the topic of her dissertation was “Designing Composition: Textbooks, Teaching and Identity in the Digital Age.” Dr. Jasken's scholarly work appears in leading journals and focuses on the intersection of oral, written and visual communication.

She currently resides on-campus in Westminster, Md., with her husband, David, two sons Iain and Kyle, and adopted dog Kira.

Professional Contributions

Nationally, Dr. Jasken is widely respected for her contributions to higher education, most recently serving as the keynote speaker for the Higher Education Resources Services (HERS) Wellesley Institute. In addition to her role as Chair of the Finance Committee and Executive Committee Board member of HERS National Women Leadership Network, Dr. Jasken also serves as an Executive Committee Board member for Westminster's Target Community & Educational Services and as a Board Member for Chamber Music on the Hill.

Widely respected for her ability to create dialogue among diverse groups, Dr. Jasken has been selected to facilitate small group discussions that include the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Institute for Chief Academic, Advancement, and Public Relations Officers; the CIC Institute on Diversity, Civility, and the Liberal Arts; and the CIC Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction. Her expert facilitation has also given her the opportunity to lead small groups for University of Maryland, Baltimore County's “Restorative Practices” and AAC&U's Summer Institute on Integrative Learning and Signature Work.

Kira in the President's Office

Meet Kira: The First Dog

Meet Kira, the First Dog and beloved friend of President Jasken and her family, David, Iain and Kyle. The black and brown rescue dog was adopted by the family in 2019 and her sweet nature immediately made her an adored member of the family. Sensitive and quiet and a mix of many different breeds (rottweiler, black lab, German shepherd, and chow have all been identified), Kira loves belly rubs, treats and curling up with her favorite humans on the couch.

President Jasken and members of her family can be seen regularly walking Kira across campus. If spotted, feel free to join along— walks with Kira are a great time to chat with the president and spend some time with McDaniel’s favorite pup.