Vice President for Academic Affairs Selected
April 12, 2017
President David Chard is pleased to announce that Wheelock College has selected Mary L. Churchill, Ph.D. to serve as its next Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA). This important appointment follows an extensive, 6-month international search.
Dr. Churchill will join Wheelock from Salem State University, where she is currently Associate Provost, Innovation and Partnerships; Interim Dean, School of Graduate Studies; and Dean, School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
As chief academic officer at Wheelock, the VPAA provides leadership and guidance in Academic Affairs at the institutional and board levels and ensures that Wheelock's mission is carried out through all degrees, programs, and activities. The VPAA works closely with the faculty and administration to create and implement an academic strategic plan that advances the College's mission, enhances its research agenda, and strengthens and promotes exemplary high-impact programs. The VPAA also works in strong partnership with Student Success to provide a holistic approach to educational access, excellence, and success for a diverse student body.
Dr. Churchill is drawn to Wheelock's mission of improving the lives of children and families, which she described as a "mission of transformation."
She spoke to the honor of her appointment at Wheelock. "To join a leadership team focused on working with faculty and students who want to create a better tomorrow, who want to create a more just society, who want to transform lives, who view their teaching and scholarship as a form of advocacy and social justice - there is no greater honor than this," Dr. Churchill said.
President David Chard shared excitement of Dr. Churchill's decision to come to Wheelock. "Dr. Churchill's years of experience as an academic leader in highly regarded institutions in the Boston area as well as her personal and professional commitment to equity and social justice in education made her a standout amongst a very competitive pool of candidates," he said. "This leadership role is instrumental in helping plan and execute academic programs tailored to address Wheelock's unique social justice mission," Dr. Chard said of the VPAA position.
The VPAA search was co-chaired by Jennifer Rice and Dr. Ellen Faszewski. The search was coordinated by Ediss Gandelman, supported by executive search consultant Dr. Ann Hasselmo of Academic Search, and included a committee of faculty, staff, students, and trustees.
Dr. Churchill will begin her work as VPAA on July 5, 2017.
About Mary Churchill
Dr. Mary L. Churchill was born in Flint, Michigan and was the first in her family to attend college. She graduated from Michigan State University in East Lansing with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 1989 and, later that year, she moved to Boston where she began working in the Financial Aid Office at Emmanuel College.
In 1994, Dr. Churchill took a position in the Political Science Department at Northeastern University managing multiple graduate programs. Shortly thereafter, she started her graduate work in Sociology at Northeastern University where she went on to earn a Master of Arts Degree in 1998 and a Doctor of Philosophy in 2004. While at Northeastern, Dr. Churchill taught undergraduate and graduate courses focused on social movements; race, class, and gender; and culture and identity in the departments of Sociology and Political Science.
In 2004, Dr. Churchill was offered a full-time teaching position at Bentley College in the International Studies Department where she also managed faculty staffing and evaluation for multiple sections of the course Cross-Cultural Understanding: Identity and Culture.
In 2006, Dr. Churchill was recruited to be the founding Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs in the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University. Among her accomplishments were working with faculty to develop graduate programs in Nonprofit Management, Human Services, TESOL, Criminal Justice, and Global Studies. She was promoted to Senior Assistant Dean of Global Programs where she developed Bachelor's Completion Programs and the Global Student Success Program and where she led the ESL Program, the Pathway Programs and the World Languages Center. During her tenure, the College of Professional Studies grew to include five academic divisions with total revenues of $72 million.
In 2011, Dr. Churchill was invited by the President at Salem State University to work with senior leaders to develop revenue-generating initiatives. In 2013, she was offered the position of Associate Provost, Innovation and Partnerships and Dean, Continuing and Professional Studies which included undergraduate programs and international and online education. In 2014, she was asked to lead the School of Graduate Studies where she worked with faculty to develop programs in Digital Studies, Public History, Social Work, Education, Nursing, and Accounting. In addition to the development of new undergraduate and graduate programs, Dr. Churchill's accomplishments at Salem State have included co-leading the institution in the A.C.E. Comprehensive Internationalization Lab, expanding the Center for Research and Creative Activity, increasing staff diversity, and reorganizing the schools of graduate and professional studies.
Dr. Churchill is an international voice for social justice and change management within higher education. She is the creator and editor of University of Venus, an Education Writers Association award-winning blog at Inside Higher Ed and has written over 100 op-eds and blog posts published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Guardian (UK), and The Washington Post. Dr. Churchill is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in higher education, particularly the promotion of women and people of color, which is an emphasis of her board leadership in the Massachusetts A.C.E. Women's Network and her work as a guest faculty member of HERS Wellesley. Dr. Churchill has established herself as a change leader in higher education and has consulted for numerous institutions including the Population Council of Cairo, the Boston Public Schools, CUNY, SUNY, and the University of Massachusetts.
Dr. Churchill and her partner, Ernesto Valencia, live in Roxbury with their 12-year old son who is in the sixth grade at the Hurley School, a Boston Public School dual language school in the South End. She is active in the Roxbury community where she serves on the boards of Dudley Square Main Streets and Discover Roxbury and acts as convener of the Roxbury Cultural Network. Her community advocacy has focused on education, economic empowerment, and the arts.