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Whelan named Vice President of Academic Affairs


Dr. Michaele Whelan has been appointed Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Writing, Literature and Publishing, effective July 2013.

Emerson College announced today that Dr. Michaele Whelan has been appointed Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Writing, Literature and Publishing, effective in early July 2013. She succeeds Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Linda Moore, who will retire July 1 following more than a decade of exemplary service to Emerson.

“Dr. Whelan’s candidacy was enthusiastically supported by all who met her while she was on our campus,” President Lee Pelton said.

“As our chief academic officer, Michaele will lead our faculty and help shape our academic programs during a period of transformation and opportunity for our disciplines, for Emerson College, and for higher education in general,” Pelton said. “She understands and embraces our distinctive educational purposes. She shares my perspective on the importance of shared governance as the cornerstone of institutional effectiveness and academic excellence,” he continued.

Whelan is currently the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Brandeis University, a role she has held for the last seven years, including a period as Interim Provost during academic year 2011. She began her Brandeis career in 2001 as Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.

While at Brandeis, she launched and managed new academic initiatives and strengthened connections with academic partners nationally and internationally; she provided leadership for academic planning, distance learning, assessment, and re-accreditation. She worked closely with the Faculty Senate and faculty committees and was active in designing, developing, and implementing long-range projects on behalf of the Provost and the President, among numerous other responsibilities.

“Emerson is a mission-driven, student-centered institution, named for a visionary leader, and with an entrepreneurial history where challenges became opportunities for academic innovation, new degree programs and partnerships, and access to new student populations,” Whelan said. “Emerson’s mission and culture resonate with my values and experience. I am honored to become a member of the Emerson community, renowned for its creative and intellectual vibrancy; its commitment to an engaged and experiential undergraduate teaching and learning environment; its distinguished graduate programs where both faculty and graduates create and disseminate new knowledge and best practices; its emphasis on being a creative laboratory for artistic works; and its commitment to serving the community,” she said.  

Between 1997 and 2001, Whelan served as Associate Dean of Academic Planning and Innovation in the Schools of Arts, Sciences and Engineering at Tufts University. There she provided academic and administrative leadership in strategic planning, academic policy, and diversity outreach and planning within Tufts’ largest academic unit.

At Harvard, Whelan served as the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of English and American Literature within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Whelan has taught for more than 20 years, including most recently, Detection and Analysis: Deciphering Theories of Madness and A Haunted America: American Dreamers As Visionaries, Wanderers and Isolates. She has taught at Brandeis, Tufts, Harvard, and the Pennsylvania State University.

A frequent contributor to and participant in educational conferences and leadership groups, Whelan has been involved in such activities as the bi-annual Colonial Group meetings of the provosts of 13 research universities, which she coordinates (2007-2012); the ACE Network of Women Leaders in Higher Education (since 2002); the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies Summer Institute (2008); New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE) Academic Affairs Think Tank (2007-2008) and the Aspen Institute.

The author of Travel Implies Destination (Aracne Publishers, 2010) and Navigating the Minefield: Hawkes’s Narratives of Perversion Theory (Peter Lang Publishers, 1998) Whelan has received numerous awards, fellowships, and honors. She holds a B.A. (Summa Cum Laude) in English and American Literature from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Harvard University. 

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