Loyola Faculty Member of the Year awarded to Quinlan professor


Associate Professor Jenna Drenten speaking at the 2023 faculty convocation, where she was awarded the Faculty Member of the Year
Associate Professor Jenna Drenten giving remarks at Loyola's Faculty Convocation after receiving the 2023 Faculty Member of the Year award.

Jenna Drenten, associate professor of marketing, is an internationally respected scholar who is making a difference in the marketing field and in the lives of her students. In recognition of that, Loyola University Chicago honored her with the 2023 Faculty Member of the Year award.

Presented at Loyola's Faculty Convocation each September, the Faculty Member of the Year award is given to a faculty member who demonstrates high achievement in teaching, scholarship or creative work, and service.

"I can think of no one more deserving among the Quinlan School of Business faculty for the Faculty Member of the Year award," said Dean Michael Behnam.

Creating impactful research

Drenten's research explores the role of digital technologies and social media platforms in everyday consumer life. She studies marketing through a lens of consumer sociology by looking at how digital culture can both challenge and reinforce racism, sexism, and classism in the marketplace.

"My passion lies in studying such power dynamics in the context of digital consumer culture," Drenten said. "Being a faculty member at Loyola has emboldened me to explore important but often heavy hot-button issues, and the Jesuit toolkit has afforded me the skills to do so."

In the last 15 years, she has published 22 peer-reviewed articles, co-authored eight book chapters, and been cited in academic research more than 700 times, according to Google Scholar. Her expertise has been shared by news outlets across the world, with more than 100 quotes in the likes of The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Financial Times.

Devotion to students in the classroom

Her research does not distract her from her commitment to engaged learning in the classroom.

"My love of education was sparked by the strong women in my life; I hope as a faculty member I embody their passion for lifelong learning, and can spark that passion for others," Drenten said.

She challenges her students to consider how marketing campaigns impact society, much like she does in her research.

"Alongside learning the nuts and bolts of marketing, I encourage my students to ask bold questions about marketing issues like the ethics of sexual objectification in advertising, and artificial intelligence in political campaigns," Drenten said.

In Drenten's classes, students develop marketing campaigns for real-world clients. She also supports students by serving as an advisor on undergraduate research projects, which have included studies of plus-sized models on social media and sexual misconduct on college campuses.

"I have been blown away by my students' courage in tackling big topics," Drenten said.

Several of the research projects have resulted in conference presentations and peer-reviewed articles by the students.

Supporting students outside of class

Her support of students does not end at the classroom door. Drenten also serves as an advisor for the Black Business Student Association, which launched in January 2023 as the first organization of its kind at Quinlan. Drenten calls this her proudest achievement as an educator. The group is "a testament to my visionary students who created a much-needed space of belonging," she said.

"This personalized attention to our students is what is so special about the Loyola experience and Dr. Drenten exemplifies this 'care for the whole person' approach," said Dean Behnam.

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