Linda Bell, a University of Pennsylvania- and Harvard-educated economist who previously worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, will begin her tenure as provost of Barnard College on Monday.
Bell, who has spent the last five years as provost of Haverford College, a liberal arts college outside of Philadelphia, is succeeding interim provost Paul Hertz, who took over when Elizabeth Boylan stepped down in June 2011.
“This is an exciting move for me,” Bell said in a statement to Spectator. “I’ve always admired Barnard as a place where both scholarship and teaching are truly valued, and where great opportunities exist for collaboration between faculty and students.”
Before she came to Haverford, Bell was a senior economist in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and held visiting appointments at Princeton, Harvard, and Stanford. In addition to her position as provost, Bell will also join the economics department as a professor.
Barnard President Debora Spar said Bell’s educational and professional background made her a good match for Barnard. “From her years at Haverford, Provost Bell brings an appreciation for a rigorous liberal arts environment where students are challenged to realize their potential,” Spar said in the statement. “As an economist, she has concrete experience with assessing data and making informed decisions, which are extremely valuable skills in this role.”
Spar noted that Bell’s scholarly work “has examined some of the issues we are most interested in at Barnard—for example, the best practices of organizations where women succeed and thrive in their careers.”
As provost, Bell is Barnard’s chief academic officer, overseeing the library and academic departments, programs, and centers. She is also responsible for budgeting and tenure review.
In an email to students announcing Bell’s appointment as provost last spring, Spar said that Bell would pay particular attention to Barnard’s relationship with Columbia and its expanding global presence.
While Bell has not announced any specific goals for her tenure as provost, she said she was “thrilled to be here” and will be focused on getting to know the Barnard community.
“My hope is that I am able to build on strengths of the College by supporting faculty research and by helping to nurture an environment where young women can immerse themselves in the disciplines that interest them, and leave here prepared to be leaders in their chosen careers,” she said.