ST. PAUL, Minn., Jan. 25, 2010 – Janet Sommers, Ph.D., has joined the senior administration of Northwestern College as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. She began her new role January 1, 2010.
Sommers has more than 20 years of teaching and leadership experience in higher education, including 18 years at Northwestern. Most recently, Sommers served as chair and professor for Northwestern’s Department of English & Literature. There she collaborated on the addition of two new concentrations and three new minors, facilitated the growth of the college’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society, and saw a 66 percent increase in the number of English majors.
“Dr. Sommers is an excellent professor with outstanding student evaluations. She is deeply respected by her peers and staff,” said Alan Cureton, Ph.D., president of Northwestern College. “She has a deep understanding of the institution’s ethos. She is a gracious, soft-spoken, yet firm leader who is willing to listen and open to discussing all possible options, viewpoints and scenarios. Her gifts and skills are exactly what Northwestern needs.”
An internal faculty committee conducted the search and facilitated interviews of several candidates before recommending two final candidates for the president’s consideration. “I am deeply grateful to the committee for their hard work and for their willingness to take on such a significant and critical search,” said Cureton. “The process was thorough, reflective, insightful and bathed in prayer. The results reflect that effort.”
In her new role, Sommers serves as the chief academic officer and senior member of the president’s cabinet. She oversees academic life for the traditional undergraduate programs, from faculty and curriculum to policies and practices.
Sommers’ administrative and writing expertise played a key role in several Northwestern College initiatives. In 2009, she served as writing chair and lead writer for the college’s self-study report for reaccreditation. In 2006, she was a member of the task force that revised Northwestern’s core curriculum. She also collaborated with the Northwestern College Christian Center for Communications in Quito, Ecuador to help assess their English program.
In 2005, Sommers received Northwestern’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Past positions include assistant and associate professor of English at Northwestern College and assistant professor of English at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College, Owatonna, Minn.
Sommers holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Education from Gwynedd-Mercy College in Gwynedd Valley, Penn., a Master of Arts in English from the University of Toledo in Ohio, and a Doctor of Philosophy in English from the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities).
Sommers resides in New Brighton, Minn. with her husband Daniel and their two sons.