Westmont Appoints First Woman Provost

Dr. Shirley Mullen, professor of history and Westmont’s interim academic dean, has been appointed provost effective Aug. 1. She will be the first woman to serve in that capacity in the college’s 65-year history.

“Mullen will fill the position left vacant last June when Dr. Stan Gaede became president, replacing Dr. David Winter, who had served as president for 25 years.

“I am so pleased with this recommendation and with this appointment, and just delighted that Dr. Mullen has agreed to accept it,” Gaede said. “If there’s a downside in this it is that she is an outstanding teacher, and this will mean that she will be spending certainly a lot less time in the classroom. But on the other hand, I can’t think of a better person to give leadership to the programs of the college and I look forward to working with her in the days ahead.”

As provost, Mullen will be the second-highest-ranking administrative officer at Westmont. She will be responsible for the college’s academic program, including curriculum, faculty, and all student services including the student life and campus pastor’s offices.

Mullen has been a professor of history at Westmont since 1984, and served as vice provost under Gaede for two years prior to taking the interim academic dean position. She holds doctorates in both history and philosophy, and her expertise is in Victorian Britain and Enlightenment tradition.

She has also become a leading scholar in the area of the liberal arts in education, and was one of the visionaries for establishing Westmont’s Institute for the Liberal Arts. The institute brings scholars from around the country to Westmont each February for a three-day symposium.

Mullen’s appointment was recommended to the president by a committee that spent most of the past academic year doing a national search. The committee brought three candidates to campus in March for interviews. Mullen had not applied for the job initially, but at the urging of faculty, the committee asked her to become a candidate in mid-March and she underwent extensive interviews with the campus community. The recommendation for her appointment was made to Gaede the first week of April.

Westmont is a nationally ranked Christian liberal arts college with 1,300 students. About 1,200 live on our ocean-view campus in the foothills of Santa Barbara and another 100 or so are typically on off-campus programs. The college offers bachelor of arts and science degrees in 26 majors and 10 pre-professional programs. Westmont’s 2001 freshman class had SAT scores averaging 1220 and held an average 3.65 unweighted GPA.

For more information, call the provost’s office at (805) 565-6007, or the public affairs office at 565-6051.