Jill Tiefenthaler joined Wake Forest as provost and professor of economics in August, 2007. She earned master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from Duke University, in 1989 and 1991 respectively, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Ind., in 1987.
Prior to joining Wake Forest, Tiefenthaler taught economics at Colgate University, a nationally-recognized liberal arts university in Hamilton, N.Y. She joined Colgate in 1991 as an assistant professor and during her tenure there, advanced to professor. She chaired the economics department from 2000 to 2003, and from 2003 to 2006 she served as associate dean of the faculty. At Colgate, Tiefenthaler took lead roles in strengthening strategic planning, faculty development, enrollment management, curriculum development, and interdisciplinary scholarship through the establishment of new centers and institutes.
With research interests focused on labor economics, economics of the family, and development economics, she has published numerous articles in scholarly journals. Several of those address topics related to the economics of domestic violence. Some of her cross-cultural academic work includes studies conducted in the Philippines and Brazil, including a study for the World Bank in the 90s.
Tiefenthaler has been a leader in university/community engagement. As founding director of Colgate’s Upstate Institute, designed to bring together the resources of Colgate with the needs of the region, she expanded outreach by working closely with community and business leaders. She served on the Madison County Priorities Council, a community group that planned ways to improve the health and welfare of county residents. She also was on the board of the Partnership for Community Development, a joint venture between Colgate and the Hamilton community that focused on sustainable economic development.
As chief academic officer, Tiefenthaler led a strategic planning process culminating in a 10-year plan to develop Wake Forest as the nation’s leading collegiate university. The plan reflects the emphasis on the teacher-scholar model, education of the whole person, and the preservation of opportunity in higher education. Under her leadership, Wake Forest established the Institute for Public Engagement, the Humanities Institute, and a number of interdisciplinary research centers. She presided over the integration of the university’s two business schools under the leadership of a new dean; an enhancement of the undergraduate admissions process resulting in more than a 50 percent increase in applications as well as the nationally-publicized decision to end the requirement of standardized test scores; and the capping of loans to Wake Forest’s neediest undergraduates. She worked with donors and other friends of Wake Forest routinely to increase support for all aspects of the university’s progressive academic program. Tiefenthaler is married to Kevin Rask, a professor of economics at Wake Forest. They have two children, Olivia,12, and Owen, 9.