Venetria K. Patton is Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. She is responsible for providing leadership for the mission, vision, and values of the college.
Patton he joined the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in August 2021. She previously served as head of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Purdue University.
Patton earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of La Verne and her master’s and PhD in English from the University of California-Riverside. Her teaching and research focus on African American and diasporic women’s literature.
In 1996, Patton joined the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a professor of English and African American studies. In 1998, she was named coordinator of the African American & African Studies Program, and in 2003 she won two teaching awards from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln: the Annis Chaiken Sorensen Distinguished Teaching Award in the Arts and Humanities and the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award.
In 2003, Patton joined Purdue University as director of the African American Studies & Research Center. In addition to her administrator role she continued her duties as professor, receiving the Kenneth T. Kofmehl Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. She served as director of the African American Studies & Research Center until 2015, when she was named Provost Fellow on Diversity & Inclusion. In 2016, she was named head of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Purdue. She served in that role until 2021, when she came to the University of Illinois.
Patton is the author of two monographs: “The Grasp That Reaches Beyond the Grave: the Ancestral Call in Black Women’s Texts” (SUNY, 2013) and “Women in Chains: The Legacy of Slavery in Black Women’s Fiction” (SUNY, 2000). She is co-editor of “Double-Take: A Revisionist Harlem Renaissance Anthology” (Rutgers, 2001) and editor of “Background Readings for Teachers of American Literature” (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006, 2014).
She is the recipient of many awards for service, including two distinguished service awards (2008 and 2015) from the Purdue University Black Graduate Student Association, the President’s Award for Outstanding Service by the National Council for Black Studies (2012), the Annual Research and Creative Achievement Award from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Humanities Center (2001), and the Community Award from the NAACP (Lincoln, Nebraska, branch) in 1999.