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Higher ed veteran Jennifer Shewmaker appointed Lipscomb University’s chief academic officer

Shewmaker leaves post as dean at Abilene Christian University to accept provost role at Lipscomb

Kim Chaudoin  | 

Jennifer Shewmaker

Jennifer Shewmaker

Higher ed veteran and Abilene Christian University (ACU) administrator  Jennifer Shewmaker has been appointed provost at Lipscomb University, President Candice McQueen announced today.

Shewmaker is dean of the ACU College of Education and Human Services, which  includes the departments of communication science and disorders, kinesiology and nutrition, occupational therapy, teacher education and social work, and is a professor of psychology at Abilene Christian University. She succeeds W. Craig Bledsoe, Lipscomb’s chief academic officer, who has served as provost for 25 years.

“The lifeblood of every institution of higher education is an academic program that inspires, instills knowledge and prepares students for successful futures. At the heart of an academic program is a chief academic officer who casts vision, provides administrative leadership, is student-focused and supports faculty,” said President McQueen. “Dr. Shewmaker’s passion for Christian education,  20 years of experience in higher education and track record of visionary leadership make her a strong fit for this very important role at Lipscomb. She is known among her colleagues and peers as a successful, relational and collaborative administrator whose faith is integral to her professional life, and I look forward to the impact that she will have on our students and academic offerings for years to come.”

Since 2002, Shewmaker has served at Abilene Christian University in several key leadership roles as well as holding a faculty appointment in psychology.  Prior to her current role, she served in a variety of administrative roles at the institution including assistant provost for teaching, learning and inquiry; chair of strategic planning; executive director of the Walter H. Adams Center for Teaching and Learning; director of faculty enrichment; and director of the School Psychology Specialist Program. Shewmaker also has 20 years of experience as a faculty member teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in multiple areas of psychology and in the core curriculum. She is actively engaged in her own scholarly and research interests and publishes regularly, including several books and multiple chapters and articles in the areas of media and child development and teaching and learning. In addition, she has received several significant grants and fellowships, as well as various awards and honors for her work. 

Dr. Shewmaker’s passion for Christian education,  20 years of experience in higher education and track record of visionary leadership make her a strong fit for this very important role at Lipscomb. — President Candice McQueen

“It is an honor to be chosen to serve as Lipscomb’s next provost. This is a community of exceptional faculty and staff committed to providing excellent, transformative learning experiences for students, with a focus on giving them opportunities to demonstrate their faith and knowledge through loving God and our neighbors,” said Shewmaker. “I look forward to being a part of ensuring that, for generations to come, students have the opportunity to be a part of this life changing experience at Lipscomb.”

The Iuka, Mississippi native, who spent most of her childhood in Texas,  also has 20 years of experience as a faculty member teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in multiple areas of psychology and in the core curriculum. Shewmaker is actively engaged in her own scholarly and research interests and publishes regularly, including several books and multiple chapters and articles in the areas of media and child development and teaching and learning. In addition, she has received several significant grants and fellowships, as well as various awards and honors for her work. 

“The search process for our next provost was extraordinarily thorough. Our large and diverse search committee started with an impressive field of highly-qualified candidates that was pared to a few individuals who went through a rigorous interview and vetting process,” explained Alan Bradshaw, chair of the search committee and director of Lipscomb’s Honors College. “Dr. Shewmaker’s academic credentials, including notable research and teaching experience as well as distinguished administrative service, made her an exceptionally interesting candidate for the committee. But the energy and vision she articulated during her in-person interviews sealed our confidence in her abilities to lead us as our chief academic officer.  We are thrilled that she will be leading our academic efforts.”

Shewmaker’s many accomplishments while at ACU include leading initiatives that resulted in ACU achieving three top 10 recognitions in US News & World Report rankings for Student Success through implementation of multiple university strategic planning initiatives to develop and open new university centers and offices, creating an interprofessional education program including curriculum and simulations using high impact practices to enhance professional development, creating and leading the five-year, $500,000 ACU 20/20: Envisioning the Future of Education Innovative Teaching Grant Program to help faculty translate educational innovations into scalable realities and transformative learning for students, and she has collaborated with leadership at ACU’s location in Dallas to initiate a budget and operational model to inform decision making around expansion of multiple programs. 

It is an honor to be chosen to serve as Lipscomb’s next provost. This is a community of exceptional faculty and staff committed to providing excellent, transformative learning experiences for students, with a focus on giving them opportunities to demonstrate their faith and knowledge through loving God and our neighbors. — Jennifer Shewmaker

“Dr. Shewmaker is a perfect fit for this important role. She has excelled as a dean and has the breadth of knowledge, experience, and energy necessary to meet the needs of a growing university like Lipscomb,” said ACU Provost Robert Rhodes. “Her ability to work with faculty and staff to address complex challenges, enhance existing programs, and pursue new opportunities will be a tremendous benefit. She will be greatly missed and Lipscomb will be greatly blessed.”

Shewmaker began her career in Fort Worth Independent School District before moving to central Europe where she consulted with the Peace Corps in Warsaw, Poland, then served as director of mental health services at the American Medical Center in Warsaw and was on the psychology staff at the American Clinics International in Budapest, Hungary before beginning her career with ACU in 2002. 

A product of Christian higher education, Shewmaker holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from ACU and a Ph.D. in psychology from Texas Woman’s University. She and her husband, Stephen Shewmaker, have three daughters, Rylan (22), Catherine (21), and Alexandra (18). She will officially begin her work at Lipscomb on Sept. 6. 

Lipscomb University is a vibrant Christian, liberal arts community with a student body of nearly 5,000 students that offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. Located in the heart of Nashville, Lipscomb University is a Christ-centered community preparing learners for purposeful lives through rigorous academics and transformative experiences. The institution also includes Lipscomb Academy, a PreK2-12th grade college preparatory school of nearly 1,300 students. For more information, visit www.lipscomb.edu.