Westminster College names new provost

Westminster is pleased to announce the appointment of Debbie Tahmassebi, Ph.D., as provost of the college.

Tahmassebi comes to Westminster after serving as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Santa Clara University since 2015. Prior to that, she served as professor, department chair, associate dean and assistant to the provost at the University of San Diego. Her appointment is effective on July 1, 2019.

“I am honored and excited to bring Dr. Tahmassebi to Westminster as our next provost,” said Dr. Beth Dobkin, Westminster president. “She has an impressive record of commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; of supporting student research and engagement both in and out of the classroom; and of successfully launching innovative programs that promote student success.”

As dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Santa Clara, Tahmassebi led the university’s largest academic unit and built a strong track record in diversifying faculty; inspiring interdisciplinary research; advancing undergraduate research and internships; and supporting innovations that include a digital-humanities initiative, artists-in-residence programs and a virtual reality lab. She is a proven fundraiser, both with individual donors and in securing external grants, and has a record of increasing engagement opportunities for those historically underrepresented in STEM. Tahmassebi’s achievements include a 2012 executive fellowship awarded by the American Council on Education and service awards by the San Diego section of the American Chemical Society, the University of San Diego Parents Association Board and the San Diego Science Alliance Volunteer Partnership for advancing K–12 science education. She has also received over $1 million in funding for her DNA research.

“I am committed to being part of a campus community dedicated to educating students to be lifelong learners who will go out and make a difference in their communities,” Tahmassebi said. “Westminster has a new president with a great track record of emphasizing an inclusive and supportive education for students, and I look forward to working with her.”

Tahmassebi holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Washington and a BA in chemistry from the University of California at San Diego.

Richard Badenhausen, Ph.D., will continue in the role of Westminster’s interim provost until Tahmassebi’s arrival.