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Haverford College

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Professor of Economics and Department Chair Linda Bell has been named provost of Haverford College, effective July 1. She replaces John David Dawson, who is stepping down after five years as the College’s chief academic officer. Bell is also the first economics professor to become Haverford’s provost.

“Haverford is a wonderful institution at an exciting time in its history,” says Bell. “I’m honored to take on such a leadership role.”

Incoming President Stephen Emerson, who selected Bell for the position, says, “The next several years will witness the full development of our new academic strategic plans and college space directions, the hiring and career development of many faculty, and the continued invigoration of scholarship and inquiry into the academic lives of our students. We are extremely fortunate to have Linda Bell lead us in these pathways as our next provost.”

An empirical economist specializing in labor markets and public policy, Bell has written and lectured extensively on such topics as compensation, union concessions, and work hours in both the United States and Europe. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981 and her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1986. She was a senior economist in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and has been a consultant to the World Bank, the U.S. Department of Labor, and National Economic Research Associates. She has held visiting appointments at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Stanford University.

Since joining Haverford’s faculty in 1992, Bell has served on a number of College committees, including the Administrative Advisory Committee, the College Planning Committee, and, most recently, the Presidential Search Committee. She chaired the economics department from 1997-2000 and 2004-present, and received the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching in 1995.

Bell has been active in the American Association of University Professors, first as chair of the Committee on Faculty Compensation, where she wrote the Annual Faculty Compensation Report from 1997-2001, and as a National Council Representative from 2003-2006. Currently, she is a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany; a project faculty member on a Danish Research Council funded initiative at the Aarhus Business School in Denmark; and a board member on the American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession.

As provost, Bell says, “I want to enhance Haverford’s academic mission, and create an environment to attract, retain and support the best faculty and the highest quality students.” Always thinking like an economist, she also wants to reassess and reprioritize “human capital resources” in more efficient ways, streamlining committee appointments where appropriate, so faculty members can make the most of their time as scholars and teachers. “I hope to create and support an environment for scholarship as a year-round pursuit.”

As the College’s chief academic officer, Bell is charged with augmenting Haverford’s reputation both nationally and internationally. “The Provost will continue the momentum built around faculty proposals for academic enrichment, and unify the community around the shared goals of academic excellence, intellectual engagement, strong community, diversity, and a cutting-edge curriculum.”

She will not be teaching next year but hasn’t ruled out a future return to the classroom: “If I can do it and still be effective as provost, I will. I love to teach.” However, she definitely intends to continue her scholarly research.

“Because the Provost is an academic leader, ongoing scholarship is critical. So I’ll go to bed at 2:30 a.m. instead of 1:30,” she smiles.

Her current research focuses on gender compensation differences in executive pay at large U.S. corporations, and female mentorship of other women at the executive level. She is also expanding on research conducted by past Haverford students. One study ponders the age-old question “Can women have it all?” by querying female executives about their roles as wives and mothers. Another project surveys European attitudes towards immigrants, quantifying instances where countries accept immigrants in general but are cooler towards groups considered “different” (i.e. Muslims). A third study, a collaboration with Professor of Economics Anne Preston, building on the thesis work of Brian Ventura ’07, follows men and women up to 25 years after graduating from college to determine how collegiate athletic participation affects their career success.

Bell lives on Haverford’s campus with husband Lior Yahalomi, a business executive and an adjunct professor at Penn’s Wharton School, and sons Benjamin, 14 and Daniel, 11.


— Brenna McBride

The Strawbridge Observatory at Haverford College houses 12-inch and 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes which are actively used by students in Haverford astronomy classes.

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