Clarke University is pleased to welcome Dr. Eden Wales Freedman as our Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty. Wales Freedman will assume the position in July 2021.
Wales Freedman is eager to join Clarke as a strong advocate for faculty, staff, and students and a contributing member to the university and greater Dubuque community. She looks forward to supporting colleagues in collaborative efforts to empower students to succeed in diverse careers, lead meaningful lives, and contribute to a global society.
Before coming to Clarke, Wales Freedman served as Vice Provost for Faculties and Academic Affairs at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and Associate Professor of English at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She and her husband, Matthew, look forward to returning to Iowa to make Dubuque their home.
Wales Freedman brings to Clarke a wealth of administrative experience. At multiple universities, she has served as Director of English Graduate Programs and Curriculum; President of Women in Higher Education; Deputy Title IX Coordinator; Director of Diversity Studies; Chair of Communication, Literature, and Arts; and Vice Provost.
A committed teacher-scholar, she felt called to transition from professor to administrator to make a greater difference on a larger, systemic level. She values the privileges higher education affords, recognizes the challenges it faces and desires to safeguard its strengths so all students who wish to pursue advanced learning may do so.
Wales Freedman was drawn to lead academics at Clarke, stating, “I believe in the power of a faith-based liberal arts education and professional preparation to transform lives. I share the belief, articulated in Clarke’s mission, that learning is lifelong and life-changing and uphold the university’s values of education, charity, justice, and freedom. I appreciate the university’s investment in tradition and innovation and hope, in the example of Mary Frances Clarke, to help keep the university ‘progressive with the times.’”
President Thom D. Chesney shares that Wales Freedman’s previous experience and her ability to collaborate across all areas on campus, “is essential to growing and sustaining Clarke as a community university with global impact. Eden’s work within and beyond campus centers on diversity, equity, and inclusion—supporting higher education access and success through programs and partnerships that fuel the common good.”
Wales Freedman earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Political Science from Swarthmore College, a Master of Arts in Literature from Boston College, and a Ph.D. in Literature from the University of New Hampshire. Her scholarship analyzes how we respond to one another across difference and in times of crisis. Her first book, Reading Testimony, Witnessing Trauma: Confronting Race, Gender, and Violence in American Literature, won the 2020 Eudora Welty Prize for its new approach to literature. Her current book project considers women’s leadership in higher education.