O'Loughlin named to top academic post at Coe College

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or rpritcha@coe.edu

2016-03-18 07:18:00 - General

Paula O'Loughlin
Paula O'Loughlin

Dr. Paula O'Loughlin has been appointed as provost and dean of the faculty at Coe College, effective July 1. In her new role, O'Loughlin will serve as Coe's chief academic officer and as the leader of the faculty, with overall responsibility for the college's academic programs and policies.

O'Loughlin comes to Coe with an impressive academic background, both as a teacher and as a scholar. Since 2012, O'Loughlin has served as the associate provost and dean of arts and humanities at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota. O'Loughlin began her academic career at the University of Minnesota­-Morris, where she taught a wide variety of political science courses and had administrative responsibilities.

The appointment was announced by Coe President Dr. David McInally following a nationwide search and on­-campus interviews with faculty, staff, students and other key college stakeholders.

"We are pleased to have someone of Dr. O'Loughlin's caliber join Coe in this key leadership role," said McInally. "Not only is she an accomplished faculty member, scholar and mentor, but she has demonstrated innovation in various roles as an academic administrator. We look forward to her contributions to the college and welcome her to the Coe community."

O'Loughlin had previously visited Coe twice for undergraduate political science conferences, and she was impressed by the "unpretentious, humble, smart and civically minded students," and with faculty who "showed the same devotion to their students that I have." O'Loughlin is committed to Coe's mission and will dedicate herself to continued institutional excellence, while working to provide students with the most life­-changing liberal arts college experience possible.

"I am tremendously excited to have been chosen as the provost and dean of the faculty at Coe. Coe has a long­standing and well-deserved reputation for academic excellence. It will be an honor to serve Coe and to continue the tradition of academic excellence which first introduced me to the college." said O'Loughlin. "Coe’s mission and core values resonate deeply for me. The college offers a transformative liberal arts experience for students and produces graduates who are committed to lifelong learning and making a difference in the world. I look forward to joining the Coe community."

Paula O'Loughlin’s professional background

At Gustavus Adolphus, O'Loughlin's responsibilities include oversight of 16 academic departments and programs within the humanities and fine arts division of the college. O'Loughlin also oversees 10 interdisciplinary programs, First Term Seminar, the Writing Center, the Writing Across the Curriculum Program, the Academic Support Center and assessment, and serves as the director of general education.

O'Loughlin describes herself as being "…passionately devoted to the liberal arts and the life­-changing possibilities of education at a small liberal arts college." At Gustavus Adolphus, she has been a leader in creating programs to enhance the possibilities of a 21st century liberal arts education for students. O'Loughlin obtained a three­-year grant from the Mellon Foundation to implement "5th term" digital humanities seminars. These digital humanities seminars are intended to provide an integrative liberal arts focused way-station for students halfway through their college careers. She also has actively promoted interdisciplinary initiatives at Gustavus. In addition, O'Loughlin has provided innovative leadership in the areas of diversity, access and inclusion through a variety of initiatives. She has demonstrated a commitment to mentoring and faculty development throughout her work at Gustavus as well.

Prior to her tenure at Gustavus Adolphus, O'Loughlin taught at the University of Minnesota­-Morris. She began as an instructor and was promoted through the faculty ranks to become full professor of political science. At Morris, she served as the political science discipline coordinator and in multiple campus and all-university governance leadership positions. O'Loughlin also headed the college's retention work group for four years. In addition, she served as the founding director of the Academic Center for Enrichment and as the assistant to the vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Among many professional activities, O'Loughlin currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Consortium for Faculty Diversity and the board of the Upper Midwest HERC. She also currently serves as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission. She previously served on the Minnesota Judicial Selection Committee and the Minnesota Political Science Association Board of Directors.

O'Loughlin has received numerous awards in recognition of her professional achievements. She received the University of Minnesota President's Award for Outstanding Service in 2012. In 2007, she was a recipient of the Horace T. Morse Teaching Award, presented by the University of Minnesota Alumni Association for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. O'Loughlin was recognized with the Minnesota State Student Service Award for the Kids Vote Program in 2004. In 2001, she received the University of Minnesota's John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising and the University of Minnesota-Morris Alumni Association Teaching Award.

She is the co­-author of the book "Courageous Resistance: The Power of Ordinary People" published by Palgrave­-Macmillan in 2007. O'Loughlin has authored numerous book chapters, articles and papers, and presented at multiple regional and national conferences in political science, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and the liberal arts.

A native of the East Coast, O'Loughlin earned her bachelor's degree in government from Smith College and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota.

O'Loughlin replaces Dr. Marie Baehr, who will transition to a different role as special assistant to the president. In her new position, Baehr will work directly with President McInally on special projects as the college's new five­-year strategic plan is implemented. Baehr has served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Coe for nine years.