Santa Barbara, CA (March 31, 2010) -
Gloria J. Willingham, PhD, has been appointed Interim Provost and Senior Vice President of Fielding Graduate University. President Richard S. Meyers, PhD, announced the appointment which will commence on April 1, 2010. Willingham succeeds Anna DiStefano, EdD, who is concluding her 14-year tenure as Provost to assume a faculty position in Fielding's School of Educational Leadership & Change.
"I am delighted that Gloria Willingham has agreed to serve as Interim Provost and Senior Vice President" said President Meyers. "Gloria is highly qualified to assume this important position and will bring positive change and forward momentum at this critical time in Fielding's development as an institution. In addition to her extensive leadership background, Gloria has the wisdom, clarity, and deep understanding of the university to provide the academic and operational leadership necessary. Through her demonstrated commitment to community engagement and social change, Gloria exemplifies a scholar-practitioner who embodies our university's core values of social justice and academic excellence. I look forward to working closely with her in the coming year to bring Fielding to its next level of possibility."
Willingham holds a PhD in education from Claremont Graduate University, a master's in nursing from the University of Arkansas, and a BS in nursing from Regents College, University of the State of New York, Albany. Until recently, she served as associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Educational Leadership & Change at Fielding. She has held a vast range of executive leadership positions in higher education, healthcare, and the military - all with a focus on education and training. Previous positions include head of service at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; assistant professor in Community Health Nursing, College of Health and Human Services at California State University, Long Beach; and chief of education and research at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Health Care System, Long Beach, CA. While serving in the U.S. Army, Willingham achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Willingham has written and spoken extensively about education in transition, nursing, diversity, women's issues, and international education. She received a Fulbright Grant to study a graduate program in Malta. Other countries in which she has studied and taught include, but are not limited to, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, South Africa, Jordan, China, and Canada.
Recently in Santa Barbara, CA, a number of nonprofit, business, and educational organizations joined to sponsor a screening of "Little Rock Central High School: Fifty Years Later," and Willingham was the featured speaker. She enrolled in LRCHS soon after the turbulent desegregation events of 1957 and remained there to graduate three years later. As she spoke about her personal history, Willingham helped the audience reflect on current issues of social justice and inspired them to think about the possibilities for personal and community engagement.
A search for a permanent Provost and Senior Vice President will begin in Winter 2010, with a candidate to be announced in Spring 2011.