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Fairfield University Dean Selected to Head Bellarmine College at LMU

Robbin D. Crabtree, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Fairfield University, in Fairfield, Conn., has been named dean of Loyola Marymount University’s Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts.  She will join the university on Aug. 1.

Crabtree is an accomplished teacher and scholar, widely published in gender studies, intercultural communication, and international service learning. A successful dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University for six years, she previously was chair of the faculty. She is respected for her strong commitment to Catholic and Jesuit education by those who know and have worked with her.

“I am delighted that Robbin Crabtree is joining us at LMU as dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts,” said Joseph Hellige, executive vice president and provost of LMU. “The college and its students will benefit greatly from her deep understanding of the enduring value of the liberal arts, from her knowledge of best practices in higher education, and from her strong commitment to the values that flow from Catholic education in the Jesuit and Marymount traditions.”

“LMU is an impressive institution and BCLA is the heart of an LMU education,” said Dr. Crabtree. “I am thrilled that the opportunity to serve as dean of the Bellarmine College is bringing me home to California, and look forward to working with the excellent BCLA faculty on important projects for the entire university, such as implementation of the new core curriculum and consolidation of the already extraordinary commitments to academic excellence, diversity, and service.”

At Fairfield, a Jesuit university, Crabtree worked for two former LMU trustees.  Both praised the selection.

Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., president of Fairfield University said, “Dr. Crabtree has been an important member of the Fairfield community since 2001. She was an exceptional dean of our College of Arts and Sciences. Moreover, the hiring-for-mission conversations she implemented with search committees have had an important impact in ensuring Fairfield’s continued Catholic and Jesuit identity. I have no doubt she will be a terrific Ignatian leader for LMU’s Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts.”

Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., chief academic officer at Fairfield and president-elect of the University of San Francisco, said, “I cannot tell you how strong a supporter of Jesuit education Robbin is. She is deeply and passionately committed to higher education in the Jesuit model–its intellectual rigor, its integrative ways of thinking, knowing, and doing, its civic engagement, and its focus on social responsibility.”

Crabtree joined the faculty of Fairfield in 2001 as an associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication and was promoted to professor in 2004.  Alpha Sigma Nu, the National Jesuit Honor Society, named Crabtree “Teacher of the Year” at Fairfield University in 2007. She is a graduate of the inaugural cohort of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities’ Ignatian Colleagues Program that prepares leaders in Jesuit institutions.

Crabtree was chosen to head Bellarmine after a nationwide search to fill the position, which was vacated by Paul T. Zeleza in 2013 when he was recruited to Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., where he is vice president for Academic Affairs.

Prior to her tenure at Fairfield University, Crabtree held faculty positions at New Mexico State University from 1993 to 2001, and at DePauw University from 1991 to 1993.  Fluent in Spanish, she has also served as visiting faculty member at two Jesuit universities: St. Louis University’s campus in Madrid, Spain and the Universidad Centroamericana in Managua, Nicaragua.

Crabtree earned her Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Speech Communication from the University of Minnesota and her B.A. degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She will be returning to her native California later this summer with her husband.