Linfield’s School of Business, College of Arts and Science hire first deans

Linfield's deans Dr. Jennifer R. Madden and Dr. Joe WilferthLinfield University has hired Jennifer R. Madden as the inaugural dean of the School of Business and Joe Wilferth as the inaugural dean of the College of Arts and Science.

“Linfield University has now put in place a team of deans who are equipped to help lead us into the future,” said Linfield President Miles K. Davis. “It says a lot about the reputation of Linfield that, in a time of multiple challenges, we have attracted such talented and accomplished deans.”

The new dean positions were created when Linfield College changed to Linfield University on July 1. With the new structure, the College of Arts and Science and the School of Business were created, joining the already established School of Nursing. Both dean appointments begin Sept. 1.

“Linfield University is very fortunate to welcome two extraordinary new deans, Dr. Jennifer R. Madden and Dr. Joe Wilferth,” said Linfield Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Susan Agre-Kippenhan. “They are exactly the kind of smart and creative leaders who will join our dean of the School of Nursing, Dr. Kim Jones, to help us build the future of Linfield University.”

Madden currently is department chair and associate professor of management and marketing at Carthage College. She also serves as director of the Master of Business Design and Innovation Program, an academic program she developed.

“Dr. Madden’s professional and educational background has well prepared her to join Linfield University at this historic time,” Davis said. “She understands the nature of interdisciplinary education, and I believe our faculty and students will benefit greatly from her leadership.”

Madden brings a wealth of experience in higher education, as well as real estate and economic development. She earned her doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Case Western Reserve University. Her research centers on designing effective cross-sector partnerships, non-profit management, urban economic development and training innovative design thinkers. Madden’s book, “Inter-Organizational Collaboration by Design,” examines how collaborations can overcome barriers to innovate and rejuvenate communities.

“I am incredibly excited for the opportunity to co-create the School of Business of the future,” Madden said. “I look forward to collaborating with faculty, students, alumni, the business advisory council, and other key stakeholders to embed resilience in our students, to prepare them to enter an ever-changing work world focused on designing sustainable solutions and building our student’s capacity for creative solutions.”

Linfield School of Business consists of six majors, including its newest program in sport management.

Wilferth joins Linfield from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he served as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the UC Foundation Professor of English. Under his leadership, the college raised nearly $4M and surpassed its fundraising goal in each of the last two years, launched a new music therapy program and facilitated recruitment and retention efforts that led to record enrollments of undergraduate and graduate students.

“Dr. Wilferth brings a wealth of experience and educational preparation into this role,” Davis said. “His ability to integrate theoretical and applied knowledge will allow him to structure a college that lives out Linfield’s legacy of a robust arts and science education.”

A scholar of rhetoric and writing, Wilferth earned his doctoral degree from Bowling Green State University. He completed a master’s degree at Southeast Missouri State University and a bachelor’s degree at DePauw University. Wilferth has repeatedly published articles and presented on environmental rhetoric, visual literacy and teaching with assistive technologies.

“I’m honored to lead the brand-new College of Arts and Science,” Wilferth said. “The work that goes on in a comprehensive college with such varied disciplines illustrates the rich and diverse array of human creativity, inquiry and expression. To have a front-row seat for such faculty and student work, and to share it with others, is a privilege.”

Linfield’s College of Arts and Science has 41 majors and four preprofessional programs in fields ranging from English and education to neuroscience and wine studies.

“The College of Arts and Science will support Linfield’s overall mission – connecting learning with life and community – by focusing on faculty support, deliberate growth of academic programs and student success,” Wilferth said. “Linfield is a top liberal arts university that prioritizes excellence in teaching. I am thrilled to be a part of its present moment and its bright future.”

Linfield is an independent, non-profit university with campuses in McMinnville and Portland, Oregon. Twenty-eight percent of Linfield students are first-generation college students, and more than one-third are U.S. students of color. The U.S. State Department has honored Linfield for being a top producer of Fulbright Scholars three years in a row.