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Dr. Lisa Sullivan appointed provost and dean of faculty

The Mount Holyoke College seal

April 13, 2022

Dear members of the Mount Holyoke community,

With great pleasure, I write to share that Dr. Lisa Sullivan has been appointed as the College’s provost and dean of faculty, effective July 1, 2022. 

Dr. Sullivan is currently the vice president for academic affairs and R. Michael Shanahan Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Economic History at Harvey Mudd College. HMC is a liberal arts college with a particular focus on science and engineering and is part of California’s Claremont Colleges Consortium.

Lisa Sullivan

Lisa brings a unique background and wealth of experience to Mount Holyoke. She is a historian of the concept of work, specializing in medieval and early American economic history and the history of work ethics. She is particularly interested in the question of meaningful work, a recurring theme in her research.

Since 2017, she has led Harvey Mudd’s academic program. Most recently, she facilitated a successful reaccreditation around the theme of “healthy excellence” for students, faculty, and staff. During her tenure, Lisa and her colleagues recruited five cohorts of new faculty who have substantially enhanced the representation of women and faculty of color across HMC’s academic departments; established a set of college-wide clinics to provide shared learning and technical solutions around environmental and social justice concerns; established an associate deanship dedicated to faculty development and diversity; secured a key gift for the expansion of art and music performance on campus; established a data-driven process for improving faculty and staff work-life satisfaction; and stewarded the development of a new Center for Climate and the Environment—among other accomplishments. She is active in the Claremont Colleges Consortium and is immediate past chair of its academic deans council. 

Dr. Sullivan holds a doctorate in economic history and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Toronto and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Vassar College. She started her career as an assistant professor of economics at SUNY Fredonia. In 1990, she began work at Harvey Mudd as an assistant professor of economics, was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 1996 and earned the rank of professor in 2006. Prior to her appointment as vice president for academic affairs, she served in a number of administrative roles responsible for faculty development and career enhancement, core curriculum development and study abroad. 

Lisa has written extensively on the political economy of utopian communities, work and human identity, and socio-economic themes in children’s literature. She has published in the areas of contemporary and medieval economic history. Her research has been supported by grants from the Canadian government, the Winterthur Museum, the Spencer Foundation and the Institute for Social and Economic Research.

As we welcome Lisa to the Mount Holyoke community, I wish to thank Dr. Dorothy Mosby for her steady leadership as interim dean since August 2020. The entire Mount Holyoke community is indebted to Dorothy for her willingness to step in at an extraordinary moment for the College, and we all have benefited from her deep commitment to our mission and her care and concern for our faculty, staff, students and graduates alike. Following this transition, Dorothy will return to her faculty appointment and take a well-deserved, full-year sabbatical. 

I also wish to thank the search committee that guided this process to its successful completion. Co-chaired by Amber Douglas, vice president for student success and dean of the College, and KC Haydon, associate professor of psychology and education.The committee’s process was rigorous and inclusive, and its efforts resulted in an exceptional pool of candidates. I am so very grateful to and appreciative of each member of the committee for their diligence and partnership: Katherine Aidala, James Harold, Cara Lapenas, Chrissa Lindahl, Jacquelyne Luce, Vanessa Rosa, Kijua Sanders-McMurtry, Dylan Shepardson and Lucas Wilson. Special thanks go, too, to Briana Chace for her excellent support of the committee and its work.

I know the Mount Holyoke community joins me in congratulating Lisa Sullivan and in extending a warm welcome to her to the Mount Holyoke community.