From breaking barriers to expanding access, experienced social worker and student advocate joins the School of Professional Studies to create opportunities for master’s students to thrive in their educational endeavors at Brown and beyond.
PROVIDENCE, RI [Brown University] — Taking another step forward in strengthening master’s student support and community at Brown, the School of Professional Studies (SPS) welcomes Janaé Perkins, MSW LCSW as the new assistant dean of master’s student affairs.
With nearly a decade of experience in various student affairs and advocacy roles, Perkins brings a wealth of expertise and passion for creating opportunities for students to thrive. Most recently, as the director of advising and student success at Roxbury Community College, Perkins led efforts to develop and implement an early alert system that significantly improved first-year student persistence rates across the institution.
As Perkins transitions to Brown to provide leadership and support to over 1,500 master’s students in more than 30 degree programs, her approach remains student-centered, collaborative and equity-minded. A large focus of her role entails helping students connect with appropriate resources on campus and providing additional support for those who are facing challenging circumstances.
Reflecting on her diverse experience in student-facing roles and as a student herself, Perkins envisions making distinct contributions to enrich the master's student journey at Brown.
“As an alumna of an ivy league graduate program, I understand the pressures Brown master’s students may feel to succeed and persist, regardless of circumstance,” Perkins explains. “I'd like to leverage my experience (both lived and professional), along with compassion and empathy as tools to work toward the continued destigmatization of seeking assistance for life circumstances master's students may experience, as well as building pathways to introduce and connect them to resources as efficiently as possible.”
Additionally, Perkins is excited about the opportunity to bring a systems-thinking approach and advance the development of processes and procedures that will positively impact a diverse group of students. As a problem solver, she is constantly thinking of how to optimize student experiences from both a practical and procedural standpoint.
One of Perkins' key priorities is fostering a sense of community by building comprehensive programming and holistic support systems for master's students. Emphasizing open communication and active listening, she plans to collaborate closely with students to address their needs effectively.
"I plan to prioritize and elevate student voices by making myself available and being fully present to ensure community members are not only heard, but that their input is reflected in the work we produce over time.” She continues, “In doing so, my goal is to establish and maintain effective communication and strive for the continuous improvement of services."
Joel Revill, deputy dean for academic and student affairs, shared his excitement about Perkins joining the team, highlighting her experience as a social worker. “Janaé’s background is invaluable in this role and I know she will have a profound impact on the well-being and success of our master’s students,” he said. “She will not only help our students navigate the institution and its resources, but also play a crucial role in removing barriers to access from the outset.”
In addition to her professional pursuits, Perkins is currently finishing her doctoral studies at Northeastern University.