Karen Petersen was named dean of The University of Tulsa’s Kendall College of Arts and Sciences in 2021. She previously served as dean of liberal arts and professor of political science at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). Petersen received her doctorate in political science from Vanderbilt University in 2004. She earned her bachelor’s degree in international relations from MTSU and her master’s degree in political science from Vanderbilt.
Petersen’s publications include journal articles on the causes of interstate conflict, terrorism, the federal courts, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and pedagogical issues related to online learning as well as high-impact practices. She teaches courses in international relations and comparative politics with an area specialization in international conflict. Petersen co-developed an education abroad course on Israeli politics, which she led from 2013-2019.
As an administrator, Petersen championed the liberal arts at MTSU. Her team implemented a comprehensive plan to articulate a strong value statement for the liberal arts and celebrate the diversity of disciplines and perspectives that makes the liberal arts indispensable in the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. She believes education, particularly higher education, has the power to change lives and transform communities.