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Dean Jeff Braden smiles in the Court of North Carolina

A Legacy of Leadership

Dean Jeff Braden has led Humanities and Social Sciences to new heights and broader horizons at NC State. We celebrate his achievements and his vision.

Celebrating the Dean

Always ready with a story or a joke, always game for a zany experience, Jeff Braden made leading the College of Humanities and Social Sciences look easy. But don’t be fooled: he took his work very seriously during his more than 13 years as dean. We applaud his accomplishments and wish him well as he returns to the Department of Psychology in July 2021.

Dean Braden raised the value of the humanities and social sciences at NC State exponentially during his tenure. He has advocated effectively for the critical role our disciplines play in addressing the challenges of the 21st century. And at our STEM-intensive university, he has made us shine: garnering resources for research and teaching, fostering interdisciplinary scholarship, encouraging students and alumni to reach for their dreams.

Dean Braden has been a fierce champion for all our students — including first generation students and those from underserved communities — ensuring they have an intensely rich and diverse college education and can access internships, undergraduate research, study abroad and other opportunities.


Dean Braden poses with several recipients of the Dean’s Scholar Award. The Dean’s Scholars program offsets tuition for top incoming freshmen and provides funding for experiential education opportunities.

Here are just a few high points from Dean Braden’s tenure.

  • Supporting Students: With the help of donors, Dean Braden funded conference visits, internships and other experiential education opportunities for students.
  • Advocating for Faculty: Dean Braden raised the college’s scholarly profile and focused on identifying and nominating faculty for much-deserved recognition.
  • Increasing Grants and Fellowships: On his watch, external funding for research and scholarship averaged $6.65 million annually, up from an average of $3.9 million during the previous eight years.
  • Prioritizing Diversity: Dean Braden supported efforts to diversify the faculty in the college. During the past 10 years, the percentage of underrepresented minority tenure track faculty members in the college increased from 11 percent to 18 percent.
  • Securing Space: The Dean advocated persistently for new and improved space for the college. His efforts will begin to bear fruit when many of the college’s administrative offices move to Page Hall in the coming years, thereby providing additional space in the college’s buildings.
  • Advancing Equity: Dean Braden worked hard to move staff salaries closer to market rates. He was instrumental in seeing that professional track faculty’s salaries were brought to at least a living wage. And he tried mightily to move salaries for tenured and tenure-track faculty to levels that were comparable for their fields.
  • Garnering Support: The dean enabled donors to put their resources where their passions lay: he helped establish the university’s first endowed center; facilitated scholarships and professorships; and was instrumental in closing the college’s $35M capital campaign. 
  • Increasing access: Dean Braden consistently focused energy and resources to increase and support students’ participation in undergraduate research and study abroad.

$6.65 million

The annual average of external funding for research and scholarship during Dean Braden’s tenure.


Dean Jeff Braden sits atop a wolf statue on NC State's campus

Here’s what a few faculty and alumni had to say about Dean Braden’s influence on the college and their time at NC State.

NC State Provost Warwick Arden

“Dean Braden has been an outstanding advocate for the college and for providing all NC State students with a comprehensive education. Thanks to his efforts, the college is on a very solid foundation that will allow the new dean to focus on strategic issues aligned with the university’s new strategic plan.”

“Jeff Braden understands that real education is not mere occupational training, but a process of formation; that knowledge is not to be instilled, but cultivated; that the end of academia lies not in published tropes, but in liberation of the higher self; that the measure of himself as dean was determined not by the approval of the administration, but by the strength of his faith in students.”

“I have witnessed first hand Dean Braden’s work ethic, his dedication to Humanities and Social Sciences and its crucial role within our STEM-focused university. He has an incredible ability to get the word out on how a humanities and social sciences degree from NC State can open unlimited doors. He has raised awareness — and an enormous amount of money — for our college and university as he has raised our college’s profile.”

“I will consider Jeff Braden as a mentor for the rest of my life. He has encouraged me to think big about what I can do and who I can lead. He has taught me the principles that are so important for any good leader to follow. When I am making a decision, I don’t base my choice on the person, but ground it in the principle. It’s a great way to think and one he tries to model daily.”

“Dean Braden had a huge impact on my time at NC State, and I will be forever grateful to him for his kindness, enthusiasm for teaching, and his sincere interest in his students. From our role swap during Dean for a Day, to the Dean’s Scholarship that helped me during a particularly difficult financial situation, his compassion and strength of character helped make my university experience truly memorable.”

“My favorite Jeffism is the adage, “If you are not at the table, you are on the menu.” Jeff has used this statement at leadership meetings to encourage us to serve on campus-wide task forces/committees. I am happy to attest that this principle also applies to his vision as it relates to creating and adopting intentional practices that promote issues of diversity and inclusion within our college.”

“Dean Jeff Braden has been a remarkable dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, serving to establish stable leadership after a period of upheaval, advancing and expanding the research and scholarly mission of the college and providing a strong voice for the importance of the humanities and social sciences in not only a STEM institution but in the national higher education landscape that has grown increasingly professionalized.”

“Jeff has been a dynamic, visionary leader and a passionate and effective advocate for NC State, the college, and the role of humanities and social sciences in solving the world’s big problems. He set high standards and ambitious goals for himself and others, and the resulting achievements are obvious. Direct, caring, and inclusive, he communicated both successes and challenges openly and engaged stakeholders, both individually and collectively, in supporting key initiatives and programs. His warmth and wit, and the energy he brought as dean will be greatly missed.”