Professor appointed head of department

Staff Writer

For four years, Dr. Maire Mullins has served the Pepperdine community, working first in the Disability Services office and then as an associate professor of English and the Social Action and Justice Colloquium. In August, Mullins was appointed to head the Human-ities and Teacher Education department as the new chair.

The department envelops many majors and courses of study, including English, history, philosophy, humanities, education, creative writing, Amer-ican studies, liberal arts and graduate history departments.

“We have 33 full-time faculty members,” Mullins said. “We are the heart of this institution. Pepperdine is a liberal arts college, so we take our job          seriously.”

Taking on this new position has its responsibilities, but Mullins shares them with others.

“I am really excited,” Mullins said. She is encouraged by her colleagues’ “passion for their work” and by the “balance between gifted teachers and dedicated scholars in the department.”

Mullins sees her role in the office as an the advocate of the faculty to the administration.

“I oversee the programs and faculty in the division, with the help of all the faculty members. Whatever they might need, I represent their concerns to the administration,” Mullins said. “I do a lot of listening.”

In addition to her responsibilities to her colleagues, she encourages students to consider the humanities major and credential programs.

“I encourage students to do what they love. A degree in humanities is a versatile degree,” Mullins said, “Students can take this degree into law school, medical school or other professional schools. The critical thinking and writing skills learned allow students to go anywhere with these skills.”

Mullins has many plans for the division, including featuring the division’s faculty in conferences and making the division’s literary magazine “Expressionist” more widely known around campus.

The conferences on the agenda begin mid-November 2005. Dr. Cyndia Clegg, Dr. Julie Smith and Dr. Donald Marshall are some of the faculty involved in organizing those conferences.

Beyond her professional commitments, Mullins has been married for 13 years to Pepperdine’s Dr. Paul Contino, professor of English and the Great Books Colloquium.

“My two children are my hobbies,” Mullins said. “May, whom we adopted from China as a baby, is 7 and Theresa is 4.”

Mullins and Contino also co-edit the quarterly scholarly journal “Christianity and Literature.”

“He does the book reviews and I handle the poetry,” Mullins said.