Dr. Jann L. Joseph has spent her career working to increase educational opportunities and student success.
Early History and Education
Joseph was born in Trinidad, West Indies, as the youngest of five siblings. Although neither parent completed elementary school, they valued the power of education to transform lives for generations. Joseph’s gratitude for her parents’ encouragement and sacrifices to give her an education inspired her to pay it forward by serving in higher education.
Joseph graduated from the University of the West Indies – St. Augustine with a bachelor’s of science in agriculture in 1984 and a master’s of philosophy in plant science in 1989. She taught with the Ministry of Education for the Government of Trinidad and Tobago from 1990 to 1992.
In 1998, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a doctorate in curriculum and instruction in science education. While there, she held various teaching and research positions. Her first full-time faculty appointment was at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, where she advanced through the ranks to professor in the Department of Biology – Science Education and associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
She continued to expand her administrative and programmatic experiences, first as dean of the College of Education at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.
Recent Administrative Career
She later served as executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, Division of Student Engagement and Success and then as interim chancellor at Indiana University – South Bend.
In 2019, Joseph was named president of Georgia Gwinnett College.
Professional and Civic Engagement
Her professional affiliations include service as president representative for IN-ACE Women’s Network, campus representative for the IU Academic Leadership Council, the Center for Regional Campus Excellence and the Higher Learning Commission, board member of Indiana Campus Compact, and executive board member of the Michigan Association for Colleges of Teacher Education. She has also served as chair of the Michigan Council of Deans of Colleges of Education and the Content Advisory Committee of the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification - Integrated Science. She has been a member of the MI-ACE Women of Color Committee, the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences Committee on Associate/Assistant Deans and the Detroit Schools Higher Education Consortium. She currently serves as chair of the University System of Georgia Council on General Education. Joseph currently serves on the boards of: Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education, Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Hispanic Chamber, Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, Rainbow Village, and The Water Tower at Gwinnett.
Joseph’s civic engagement has included serving on the boards of Healthlinc, the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce and the St. Joseph County Historical Society, and as president of the South Bend Chapter of The Links Inc. She was a member of the Ypsilanti 20-Club Town and Gown group and has volunteered with Dress for Success and the American Heart Association, among other organizations.
Joseph has three children and four grandchildren. She and her husband, Bishop Dr. Willard Smith reside in Lawrenceville.