MBU Names New Interim Provost

Mary Baldwin University announced this week that Tynisha Willingham, PhD, will serve as interim provost and chief academic officer effective February 15. She began her tenure at MBU in the summer of 2020 as dean of the College of Education. 

“I am delighted to lead and shape the academic enterprise at Mary Baldwin University,” Willingham said. “We are a family that values rich and hard dialogues about pressing issues while holding a space for one another’s common humanity. I am excited to share in the vision where our faculty and holistic programming efforts meet students where they are; whether on our residential campus, Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, or through MBU Online.” 

A proven administrator, Willingham has a deep understanding of the critical role of data in advancing academic programs, as well as extensive knowledge of external trends in higher education. 

From this strategic mindset, she will lead a data-driven, collaborative process to re-create and re-envision academics at MBU for a post-pandemic landscape, with an overarching commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“Dr. Willingham has the insights, skill, and keen desire to join in collaborative work with faculty, the executive staff, the board of trustees, and our entire community to play a key role in positioning MBU for our future and continuing our mission of empowering inclusive leaders to create value and meaningful change,” said President Pamela Fox. 

In her new position, Willingham seeks to align the university’s offerings with higher education predictions and key trends in the workforce, so that programs are evolving to respond to current and prospective student demographics while meeting critical needs in workplaces and communities.

“I am delighted to lead and shape the academic enterprise at Mary Baldwin University.”

Tynisha Willingham, interim provost

She also looks to build upon the university’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion in the area of academic affairs, including the hiring and development of faculty and staff and the continued focus upon inclusive curriculum.

“As the interim provost, I believe in our commitment to preparing all of our students to be change agents and our responsibility to provide them with the tools to do so,” she said. “I am excited to guide and work alongside the faculty to facilitate equitable and inclusive learning experiences that prepare our students for creating new and better worlds.”

Willingham’s research expertise encompasses literacy practices in diverse settings, community engaged learning, and leadership and development for the scholarly community. She earned her BS from Pennsylvania State University; MEd from the University of Texas, Pan-American; and PhD from Pennsylvania State University. 

The Interim Provost Search Committee for MBU was chaired by Associate Professor of Philosophy Edward Scott and members included Director of the Vantage Point Nell Desmond; Occupational Therapy Program Director Allison Ellington; Assistant Professor of Theatre Brian Granger; Vice President of Student Engagement Ernest Jeffries; Associate Professor of Business Administration Cat McPherson; Trustee Susan Nolan Palmer ’67; Associate Professor of Spanish Brenci Patiño; University Registrar Sheila Tolley; and Assistant Professor of Education Alice Wadell.