Dr. Jesse Peters is Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Fort Lewis College. He received his A.A. from Oxford College of Emory University and his B.A. from Emory College of Emory University. Both his M.A. and Ph.D. are from the University of New Mexico. Before coming to Fort Lewis College, he was a tenured full professor in the departments of American Indian Studies and English, Theatre, and Foreign Languages at The University of North Carolina Pembroke. Dr. Peters served as Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Fort Lewis before being named Provost.
Dr. Peters specializes in Native American literature and studied under the late Louis Owens while at UNM. He has also taught creative writing classes and published poetry in several journals, including The Denver Quarterly, Zone 3, The Lullwater Review, The Vassar Review, and The Owl Eye Review. In 2006, he guest-edited an issue of Pembroke Magazine focused on Native American Literature. Dr. Peters was nominated for the UNC Board of Governors Teaching Award, and he won the UNCP Award for Excellence in Teaching twice, in 2003 and 2015. He has published on the work of Linda Hogan, Louis Owens, Aaron Carr, and Tom King. Currently, he is working to combine creative non-fiction and scholarly discourse, examining issues of sovereignty and motion as articulated in contemporary Native American fiction.
While on the faculty at UNC Pembroke, Dr. Peters served the university in many capacities. He was elected chair of the Faculty Senate as an untenured Assistant Professor and then worked to expand the duties and roles of the senate chair. He served on the Faculty Senate for almost half the years he was on the faculty and chaired the Academic Affairs Committee, the Committee on Committees and Elections, the Faculty and Institutional Affairs Committee, and the Faculty Governance Committee. He also served on the Student Affairs and Campus Life Committee. He co-founded ReVisions: Best Student Essays of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and served as co-editor. He serves on the National Collegiate Honors Council Honors Semesters Committee and frequently co-facilitates national faculty institutes on experiential learning.
As Dean of the Esther G. Maynor Honors College, he solidified that program, revising the curriculum and graduation requirements, developing living-learning communities, increasing the diversity of the student body, and expanding co-curricular activities. As Director of Undergraduate Research, he developed the annual undergraduate research symposium hosted by the Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity Center.
He is originally from Georgia and grew up on a farm in the southern part of the state. He started out as a business major in college but switched to English after having a class with a dynamic professor during his freshman year. Originally interested in southern authors like Faulkner, Welty, and Percy, he was eventually drawn to the work of Native American authors and decided to pursue a graduate degree at the University of New Mexico in Native American Literature. His leadership style is heavily influenced by the indigenous worldviews he has interacted with and studied over the last twenty-five years.
Dr. Peters loves teaching, mentoring students, and he uses his administrative and shared governance roles to enable faculty to be the best teachers possible. As a first-generation college student, he believes in the ability of higher education to bring about meaningful change in the world. For him, helping foster a positive and collaborative environment where faculty and staff work together as members of an active and productive community is the greatest part of working at a college.