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Debra Bean of National University Named Interim President at JFK University

June 10, 2015

Ms. Bean, who has been serving as Provost at National University, will guide Bay Area institution during the upcoming academic year

Pleasant Hill , CA - Debra Bean, a leader in higher education administration with a demonstrated commitment to ensuring academic quality and student success, has been named Interim President of John F. Kennedy University, which serves nearly 1,500 students in the San Francisco Bay Area. She will be succeeding Dr. Charles "Mac" Powell who is leaving JFK University at the end of June to become president of Bastyr University based in Washington.

Ms. Bean comes to JFK University from National University, the second-largest private, nonprofit university in California. She has been serving as Provost at National University since June 2014 and will be taking a temporary leave from this position to guide JFK University during the coming year. Ms. Bean brings more than a decade of experience in higher education administration, as well as in the business and nonprofit sectors. Both JFK University and National University are part of the National University System, which is comprised of private, nonprofit higher education institutions in California and Washington.

“Debra Bean is the perfect person to lead JFK University forward,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, Chancellor of the National University System. “She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in all aspects of university leadership, and is familiar with JFK University through our System collaborations. Her leadership assures continuity and an ongoing commitment to the highest standards of student success, institutional collaboration, and community engagement.”

In addition, JFK University Vice President of Academic Affairs Dean Barbieri has been named Senior Vice President. He will also continue in his role as Dean of JFK University College of Law. The University's three colleges offer undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in law, including a JD-MBA dual degree, psychology, business, health education, and museum studies.

While 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. As the first Dean of National University’s School of Media and Communication, Ms. Bean developed 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.

“John F. Kennedy University has an outstanding history of academic excellence and student achievement,” said Interim President Debra Bean. “I look forward to getting to know the faculty, staff, and students and leading the institution to greater recognition as a premier educational institution.”

Prior to joining National University, Ms. Bean served as Associate Dean at the Columbia College, School of Media Arts, leading assessment and outreach initiatives and other priority administrative projects. She has held management positions in the fields of media, strategic marketing, and online brand development for clients such as American Airlines,, Nike, The Chicago Tribune, and the University of Chicago. In addition to her professional achievements, Ms. Bean has served on several boards of nonprofit organizations, including the International Educational Resources Foundation (2010-2013). She has also served on 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.