Dominican University of California President-Elect Nicola Pitchford has appointed Dr. Mojgan Behmand as Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) and Dean of the Faculty, beginning July 1, 2021. Dr. Pitchford, who currently serves as VPAA and Dean of the Faculty, begins her tenure as Dominican’s 10th president on that day.
Dr. Behmand has served as Dominican’s Associate VPAA & Dean of The Dominican Experience since 2019. She joined Dominican as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of English in 2007, earning tenure in 2011 and early promotion to the rank of Professor in 2015. Her administrative roles include Director of Faculty Development; Director of General Education and First-Year Experience; and Associate VPAA and Dean of General Studies. She served as Acting VPAA during the fall 2018 semester.
“The initiatives Mojgan has led have been numerous and enormously significant for shaping Dominican students’ experience,” Pitchford said. “She has been an exceptional faculty leader at Dominican over the past 13 years.”
The initial one-year appointment will ensure continuity in academic leadership as Dominican negotiates the impact of the pandemic, while also providing an opportunity to confer and consult in the context of shared governance about the longer-term vision for this vital leadership role.
Dr. Behmand has steered several key curricular initiatives, including the redesign of the Honors Program and the 2017-2018 overhaul of the former General Education curriculum, leading to the adoption of the University’s current Core Curriculum with a vote of approval from more than 84% of the Faculty Forum.
“Mojgan played key roles in all three components of Dominican’s remarkable collective achievement of rethinking our GE, then rapidly revising the entire undergraduate curriculum, in both content and structure, over the course of only two years — while also bringing to scale the signature wraparound learning model of the Dominican Experience,” Pitchford said.
“Just how remarkable is this transformational accomplishment has been highlighted by the eager national interest — and envy — that have greeted Mojgan’s conference presentations on the design and execution of the process.”
Dr. Behmand successfully sought (or partnered in securing) more than $850,000 in gift and grant funding in support of curricular initiatives, including developing the statewide Civic Action Fellowship.
This past year Dr. Behmand also has worked with both the CARE and HOPE teams to help retain and support struggling students during the pandemic, marshaling the University’s resources to provide coordinated care across the challenges students and families are facing.
Dr. Behmand was the founding director of Dominican’s First Year Experience “Big History” program and creator and co-editor of the book Teaching Big History published by UC Press in 2014 and written in collaboration with Dominican faculty. She has published and presented widely on topics such as comprehensive curricular revision, faculty development, and institutional culture change, Big History pedagogy, and medieval Persian epics and passion plays. She has an affinity for specialty courses on individual and communal identity, 19th-century women’s literature, Gothic novels, and world literature.
Dr. Behmand holds a Master’s degree and a PhD in English from the University of Düsseldorf.