Academics Academic Leadership

Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino

Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino

Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino is currently serving as dean of Liberal Arts. This new role builds on a long line of institutional service as HPSS department head (2016–20), HPSS concentration coordinator (2011–16) and vice president of the Full-time Faculty Association (2016–21).  

Prewitt-Freilino is a social psychologist who has spent many years developing courses to attempt to get students to incorporate what they learn in the classroom into their everyday life and work. She loves that she has spent her career working with students to get them thinking about the ethical implications of what they create and how their work shapes the larger cultural, material, political and physical environments in which we live. She has taught a range of both introductory and seminar courses in psychology (for example, Psychology of EvilPositive PsychologyStereotypes and PrejudiceGender and the MediaSelf and Identity). 

Prewitt-Freilino’s primary research explores the power of social identity and role norms generally (and gender and parental status in particular) to powerfully shape how we think about ourselves, behave and speak. Given how memberships in social groups and categories are a central part of people’s understanding of the self, her work has explored how threats to these identifications can have powerful implications for people’s thoughts, feelings and behavior. She has also investigated the gendering of language and its link to gender inequality, both in terms of larger language systems as well as how men and women speak in everyday life and how such speech differences may contribute to status hierarchies. She is currently exploring the experience of identity transitions, both in terms of its subjective experience as well as the interpersonal, social and economic/political consequences of shifting from one social identity to another. Her work has been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Self and IdentitySex RolesGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations and the Journal of East Asian Studies.

In her free time, she likes to spend time with family (wife, daughter and pet guinea pig), host gatherings, cook obscene amounts of delicious food, swim/kayak/soak up the beauty of nature, listen to fiction audiobook series and knit.

RISD faculty member Jennifer Prewitt Freilino