Rena Fraden

Fraden, the dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs and the G. Keith Funston Professor of English and American Studies at Trinity College, in Hartford, Conn., will join Pacific March 1 as the new dean of the College of the Pacific.

  • Print

Pacific Welcomes New Dean for The College

Mar 1, 2013

Rena Fraden was appointed dean of the College of the Pacific, Pacific's largest academic unit, Pacific Provost Maria Pallavicini announced today. Fraden is the dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs and the G. Keith Funston Professor of English and American Studies at Trinity College, in Hartford, Conn. She will join Pacific March 1.

"As the liberal arts core of the University, the College of the Pacific deserves a brilliant and inspiring leader. We have found one in Rena Fraden," Pallavicini said. "Dr. Fraden has an impressive record of teaching, scholarship, advocacy and collaborative decision-making, and she is the perfect person to lead the College."

"Like the faculty and staff in the College of the Pacific, I have spent my career championing the liberal arts," Fraden said. "I look forward to continuing that work in the College and across Pacific's schools, ensuring that a Pacific education remains dynamic, utterly contemporary and worth the investment our students make."

A literary historian whose work focuses on cultural institutions, Fraden's scholarly work ranges from the 1930s WPA arts projects to contemporary theater arts. She is the author of "Imagining Medea: Rhodessa Jones and Theater for Incarcerated Women" and "Blueprints for a Black Federal Theater."

Fraden holds a B.A., summa cum laude, and Ph.D. in English from Yale University. She was a faculty member in the Department of English at Pomona College for 23 years, where she also served as associate dean from 2003 to 2006 and as the chair of the English department from 1999 to 2003. Fraden joined Trinity College in 2006, where she reports to the president, serves as the chief academic officer and is the second ranking officer of the college.

Fraden studied in India in 1998 on a Fulbright Fellowship and was a Fellow at the Center for the Humanities at Wesleyan University in 1990. She has also received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

The new dean will arrive at a critical time for both the College and the University, playing a prominent role in shaping Pacific's futureFraden will work with the faculty and staff in the College to align with the Pacific 2020 strategic plan ( She will lead long-range planning, innovate and strengthen the College as a liberal arts college of excellence and distinction, promote a rigorous culture of assessment, continue to develop effective fundraising, support technology-enabled learning, and create and support interdisciplinary programs both within the College and across the schools at Pacific to appeal to new student markets. 

Fraden was selected in a national search, following the announcement by previous Dean Tom Krise that he would become president at Pacific Lutheran University. A search committee appointed by Provost Pallavicini screened a large and deep pool of applicants, identifying nine semifinalists, who were interviewed by the committee and the Provost.

The College of the Pacific provides a contemporary liberal arts college experience and serves as the heart of a comprehensive university.  The College is distinguished by its commitment to the development of "citizen leaders," rigorous education situated within a supportive and friendly community of faculty and students, close student-faculty interaction, attention by both faculty and staff to the development of the whole student and robust interdisciplinary programs and experiential learning opportunities. 

The College administers the University's nationally recognized General Education Program; offers 37 undergraduate majors in the arts and humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences; five master's programs; and one joint Ph.D. program. The College is also responsible for accelerated and collaborative programs linked to each of the University's eight professional schools.  The College's 144 full-time faculty members are housed in 18 departments, four centers and six programs.  Currently, the College has 1,677 undergraduates and 78 graduate students enrolled in its programs, making it the largest of Pacific's nine schools.