Serving most recently as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Widener University, in Chester, Pennsylvania, Dr. Meagher began her new role at MMC on July 1, 2017.
“Our college is unique in offering an intimate and versatile liberal arts education combined with professional preparation and social engagement in the heart of New York City,” said MMC President Kerry Walk, Ph.D. “Dr. Sharon Meagher’s background in promoting a place-based model of higher education that fully integrates theory and practice makes her the perfect fit for MMC. Her highly collaborative leadership style and passionate dedication to student learning and success strongly resonate with our entire campus community.”
Dr. Meagher comes to MMC with 20 years of higher education leadership experience at three different institutions. At Widener, she improved retention rates and humanities enrollments, fostered the creation of graduate certificate programs, and raised funds for innovative, creative place making projects in the city of Chester. While Professor of Philosophy at the University of Scranton, Dr. Meagher served as a founding chair of a department which housed the Latin American Studies and Women’s Studies programs. At The Union Institute, she served as Co-Chief Operating Officer and Director of the Office of Social Responsibility, where scholars and practitioners engaged in funded research projects.
“My entire career has been dedicated to the purposeful integration of liberal arts education, professional studies, and civic engagement in an urban environment. MMC has a history of combining these things and is now building on that history to take it to a level of national leadership. I am excited to join a team of dedicated faculty and administrators to foster and facilitate this work,” said Dr. Meagher. “I already knew that MMC was a special place, but that was really confirmed for me when I attended this past May’s commencement, where the accomplishments of our students were celebrated with such joy and energy. Consistently I have witnessed an engaged student body committed to their work and to each other,” added Dr. Meagher.
A public scholar, Dr. Meagher conducts research on urban theory and practice, women and sustainable development in the global South, and university-community partnerships. Her publications include Philosophy and the City: Classic to Contemporary Writings (SUNY Press, 2008). She served on the board of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, is the co-founder of the Public Philosophy Network, and serves as a Trustee at Keystone College. She earned her B.A. degree in Philosophy and Sociology from Boston College, and Ph.D. in Philosophy at SUNY Stony Brook.
Dr. Meagher’s appointment follows a national search led by a search committee that conducted a rigorous, transparent, and inclusive process. The committee was assisted by search consultant Monique Rinere, Ph.D.
“Sharon’s commitment to innovative pedagogy and creative but deliberate decision-making distinguished her as a candidate,” said Bradley Herling, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, who co-chaired the search committee. “Faculty were immediately impressed by Sharon’s alignment with our ethos at MMC, and her ideas for keeping us on an upward trajectory.”
Dr. Meagher succeeds David Podell, Ph.D., who took office as President of Massachusetts Bay Community College on July 1, 2016. Kathleen LeBesco, Ph.D., who joined the MMC faculty in 1998, served as the college’s Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty for the 2016-17 academic year. Dr. LeBesco remains in the dean’s office as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
In reflecting on the importance of the Vice President/Dean’s role in advancing excellence at MMC, Mary Fleischer, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts, and search committee co-chair, observed, “Sharon’s academic values and vision align very well with MMC’s. We welcome her to our campus community with great confidence in her ability to provide academic leadership that will significantly contribute to the College’s success.”