She is the third member of McCormick’s faculty to be named dean of a seminary during the last three years following Dr. Luis Rivera, Dean of the Faculty at McCormick, and Dr. Jose Irizarry, Academic Dean of the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico.
Mullen’s new appointment at Columbia includes the faculty rank of Associate Professor of American Christianity and Black Church Studies and becomes effective October 1, 2010. McCormick will honor her 21 years of service and leadership as well as celebrate the ongoing work of the Center for African American Ministries and Black Church Studies at a special event scheduled for September.
“The strength and diversity of McCormick’s student body and the reputation the seminary has developed as a leader in cross-cultural theological education is due in large part to Deborah’s vision and hard work over the years,” said President Cynthia Campbell.
“Central to McCormick’s mission since moving to Hyde Park in the 1970s has been the formation of pastors and leaders from our own South Side Chicago community. Deborah has helped us grow deep roots here and build partnerships that will serve McCormick, local congregations, and the greater Church for years to come. We wish her well at Columbia as she begins an exciting new chapter in her educational ministry.”
Mullen came to McCormick in 1989, serving in a newly created position of Associate Dean of Masters Programs for Experiential Education and Field Studies. She was appointed Assistant Professor of Ministry and Historical Studies in 1993 and in 1996 was elected Dean of Masters Level Programs, a post she held for 11 years.
As Director of the Center for African American Ministry and Black Church Studies, Mullen gave greater visibility to a number of critical issues affecting African Americans and other communities of color. She has been particularly active in civil rights across the lines of gender, race, and sexuality, and has convened important HIV/AIDS summits and workshops. The Center coordinates and sponsors events that are among McCormick’s most well attended including the Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service of Praise and Worship and the Annual Black Church History and Heritage Lecture, drawing sought-after speakers including Dr. Brad Braxton, Bishop Yvette Flunder, Dr. Cynthia Hale, and many others.
Mullen has served the denomination in a variety of national leadership roles and internationally at ecumenical gatherings sponsored by the World Council of Churches. She served two terms as one of seven elected members on the Board of Directors of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation.
Among her published works are articles and book chapters in Shaping Beloved Community: Multicultural Theological Education, the Presbyterian Survey, The Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society, Renewing the Vision, Out of the Ashes, and Ending Racism in the Church. Dr. Mullen was also co-editor of Ordination: Past, Present, and Future, a collection published by the Presbyterian Church (USA).