Dr. Jennifer Summit
Jennifer Summit joined SF State in 2014 as Dean of Undergraduate Studies, an office that was reorganized under her leadership into the Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning (DUEAP). From 2014-16, she led efforts to strengthen academic program review and assessment, improve first-year students’ experience, expand the Metro College Success Program, and develop and launch the University’s student success plan under the Chancellor’s Graduation Initiative 2025. With support from the Teagle Foundation, she served as PI for a university-wide initiative in faculty-led curriculum redesign in the majors, which engaged 20 departments across multiple colleges; she also secured funding from the Keck Foundation to redesign lower-division coursework to advance student success.
In the Provost’s role since 2016 (first as Interim), she has supported the creation of CEETL (Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning), improvements in course availability and scheduling, initiatives to strengthen diversity and equity in faculty hiring and development, and efforts to improve transparency and stability in Academic Affairs’ budget.
In 2012-13 she served as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow at San Jose State University, where she led the Provost's Task Force on Student Engagement and developed and launched (with Amy Strage, SJSU, and Richard Reis, Stanford) the “Preparing Future Professors” program, which places Stanford Ph.D. students with faculty mentors from public comprehensive and community colleges.
Before joining San Francisco State, she was a professor of English at Stanford University from 1995 – 2013 and served in multiple leadership roles, including chair of the English Department, co-founder and director of the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, chair of the Committee for the Review of the Undergraduate Major and chair of the University Writing and Oral Communication Requirements Revision as part of the Study of Undergraduate Education at Stanford (SUES) Committee. At Stanford she was also the recipient of a Deans’ Award for Distinguished Teaching and a Hoagland Family Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Teaching, as well as serving as Eleanor Loring Ritch University Fellow in Undergraduate Education and Faculty Fellow in the Center for Teaching and Learning.
A widely-published scholar of medieval and early modern English Literature, Dr. Summit has received major fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Modern Language Association for her work on the histories of literacy and texts, religion, literature and periodization. Her published work includes Action vs. Contemplation: Why an Ancient Debate Still Matters, co-authored with Blakey Vermeule (University of Chicago Press, 2018), which was shortlisted for the Phi Beta Kappa Ralph Waldo Emerson Award; Memory’s Library: Medieval Books in Early Modern England (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2008), which was awarded the Roland H. Bainton Book Prize by the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference (SCSC) and the John Ben Snow Foundation Book Prize from the North American Conference on British Studies (NCBS); and Lost Property: Women Writers and English Literary History, 1380-1589 (2000), which was awarded honorable mention from the Modern Language Association’s First Book Prize and the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship’s First Book Prize.
Summit received her B.A. in English from Vassar College and her MA and Ph.D. in English from Johns Hopkins University. A native to the San Francisco Bay Area, she lives on the Bay Area Peninsula with her husband and two children.
- Summit, Jennifer; Vermeula, Blakey. " Healing the Rift: Dividing the disciplines does nothing to advance knowledge," Chronicle of Higher Education (Vol. 64, Issue 37.)
- Jennifer Summit, Richard Reis, Amy Strage. “Preparing Future Professors: A Cross-Institutional Mentoring Program,” Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning 46:4 (2014): 46-51.
- Summit, Jennifer. “Global Citizenship Demands New Approaches to Teaching and Learning: AASCU’s Global Challenges Initiative,” Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning 45:6 (2014): 51-57.
- Summit, Jennifer. “The Humanities Aren’t As Dead As You Think,” Zócalo Public Square (August 19, 2013)
- Summit, Jennifer. “Renaissance Humanism and the Future of the Humanities,” Literature Compass 9 (2012): 665-678.
- Summit, Jennifer. “’Bequeathed Care’: Rethinking Spenser’s Contemplation,” Spenser Review 41 (2011): 1-10.
- Summit, Jennifer. “Literary History and the Curriculum: How, What, and Why,” Profession (2010): 141-150, reprinted from the ADE Bulletin 149 (2010)