Valparaiso University has named Jennifer A. Ziegler, Ph.D., as dean of the Graduate School and Continuing Education, effective June 30, 2014. Ziegler currently serves on Valpo’s faculty as graduate program director and associate professor of communication.

In her role as dean, Ziegler will report to the provost and be responsible for the strategic leadership, coordination, and guidance of the Graduate School. She will also oversee recruitment, admission, and advising of graduate and continuing education students, working in close cooperation with the registrar and the vice president for Enrollment Management.

“Professor Ziegler is an outstanding selection as dean of the Graduate School and Continuing Education,” said Mark R. Schwehn ’67, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Her commitment to Valparaiso University is evident through her active involvement on campus, dedication to students, and leadership as an educator.”

Ziegler has been a member of Valpo’s faculty since 2007, serving as chair of the communication department from 2011-2012. She has extensive experience teaching in a range of models including returning adult, scholarly, career preparation, practical, and skills-based.

“As dean, I will represent and advocate for the interests of the Graduate School, its faculty, staff, and students, as I collaborate with other campus leaders to help the University achieve its overall strategic goals in the changing higher education environment,” Ziegler said. “The Graduate School already has experienced tremendous expansion of programs and partnerships and has met strategic goals for growth ahead of schedule, most notably through international student recruitment.”

As Valparaiso University seeks to expand academic programs and grow total enrollment to 6,000 students as part of its Strategic Plan, Ziegler will provide crucial oversight in the evaluation of all graduate and continuing education programs and will initiate and oversee the creation of new programs that are aligned with the University’s mission and serve the ever-changing needs of students of all ages. Previously, Ziegler helped to launch Valpo’s Master of Science degree programs in Digital Media and Sports Media.

“My teaching philosophy closely mirrors Graduate School traditions — a solid foundation in traditions, principles, theories, and trends, culminating in practical application and professional preparation,” Ziegler said.

Ziegler holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Communication from the University of Colorado, a Master of Arts in Organizational Communication from the University of Illinois, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus in accounting from Georgetown University.

She has published numerous peer-reviewed scholarly articles, book chapters, and reports, and she contributed to the recent Yarnell Hill Fire Serious Accident Investigation Report, featuring research on wild land firefighting safety. Ziegler is frequently invited to present her research, which has been cited in leading journals such as Communication Monographs and Academy of Management Review.