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About the President

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Debra Bean
Interim President
John F. Kennedy University

Debra Bean is the eighth president in the history of John F. Kennedy University and its first woman president. A leader in higher education with a demonstrated commitment to ensuring academic quality and student success, Ms. Bean comes to JFK University from National University, the second-largest private, nonprofit university in California, where she has been serving as Provost since June 2013.

At National University, Ms. Bean played a key role during a regional accreditation recertification that resulted in a successful nine-year renewal from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission. She also led campus-wide academic efforts for the university’s five-year strategic plan, “NU2015,” which sets the bar for continued standards of excellence.

Prior to her role as National University’s Provost, Ms. Bean served as the university’s Associate Provost and was the first Dean of National University’s School of Media and Communication. As Dean, she led the development of numerous degree programs and launched several key projects, such as “San Diego 6,” a multimedia program designed to promote health, exercise, and nutrition to children.

Prior to joining National University, Ms. Bean served as Associate Dean at the Columbia College School of Media Arts, where she led assessment and outreach initiatives along with other priority administrative projects.

Ms. Bean has many years of experience in the business and nonprofit sectors. She has held management positions in the fields of media, strategic marketing, and online brand development for clients such as American Airlines, msnbc.com, Nike, The Chicago Tribune and the University of Chicago.

In addition to her professional achievements, Ms. Bean has served on several boards and committees of nonprofit organizations. Most recently she was appointed to the board of directors of the San Diego Museum of Art. Other service includes the International Educational Resources Foundation (2010-2013), the Kyoto Awards Host Committee (2010-2015) and the International Digital Media Arts Association board (2005-2007).

Ms. Bean’s terminal degree is a Master of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from the University of Colorado, Boulder.