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Debra Bean Named Provost of National University

National University Provost Debra Bean
National University Provost Debra Bean

Debra Bean, a leader in higher education administration with a demonstrated commitment to ensuring academic quality and student success, has been named Provost of National University, announced Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, National University President and Chancellor of the National University System.

 Ms. Bean brings more than a decade of experience in higher education administration and a proven background in developing programs aimed at improving our communities through academic initiatives and other nonprofit causes. Among her many contributions to National University, Ms. Bean played a key role as Associate Provost during the regional accreditation recertification that resulted in a successful nine-year renewal from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission. She also led campus wide academic efforts for the university’s five-year strategic plan, “NU2015,” which sets the bar for continued standards of excellence. As the first Dean of National University’s School of Media and Communication, Ms. Bean developed numerous degree programs and launched several key projects, such as “San Diego 6,” a multimedia program designed to promote health, exercise, and nutrition to children.

“Provost Debra Bean’s high standards of excellence sets the foundation for our future and ensures our students are prepared to adapt and flourish in our rapidly evolving economy,” said Dr. Cunningham. “Her commitment to student success, collaborative leadership and community make her an ideal choice to lead National University as we remain dedicated to providing our working and busy students access to an affordable, high-quality college experience.”

Prior to joining National University, Ms. Bean served as Associate Dean at the Columbia College, School of Media Arts, leading assessment initiatives and other priority administrative projects. She has held management positions in the fields of media, strategic marketing, and online brand development for clients such as American Airlines, msnbc.com, Nike, The Chicago Tribune, and the University of Chicago.  In addition to her professional achievements, Ms. Bean has served on several boards of nonprofit organizations, including the International Educational Resources Foundation (2010-2013). She has also served on the Kyoto Awards Host Committee (2010) and the International Digital Media Arts Association board (2005-2007). 

“At National University, our priority is ensuring our students attain their educational goals and key to that is our faculty who bring an impressive range of academic qualifications as well as professional experience to our campus and online learning environments,” said Provost Debra Bean. “I look forward to working closely with National University’s dedicated and distinguished faculty as we continue to identify new opportunities to further enhance the academic experience of our students.”

Ms. Bean’s terminal degree is a Master of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  Her conference presentations include “Shared Governance and Accreditation” and “Preparing for Educational Effectiveness.”

For more information about Provost Debra Bean and National University, visit www.nu.edu.

About National University

Founded in 1971, National University is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California. With 30,000 students and more than 140,000 alumni, National University is the flagship institution of the National University System. National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. Five schools and one college – the College of Letters and Sciences; the School of Business and Management; the School of Education; the School of Engineering, Technology and Media; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies – offer 133 graduate and undergraduate degrees and 23 teacher credentials. Programs are offered at more than 45 locations throughout California and across the nation, and are also available online. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California.



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