UNCP names Dr. Tracy Mulvaney dean of School of Education

Tracy Mulvaney
Dr. Tracy Mulvaney

Dr. Tracy Mulvaney, a proven leader with three decades of educational experience spanning K-12 to higher education, has been named dean of the School of Education at UNC Pembroke.

Dr. Mulvaney’s appointment was approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees Wednesday. She currently serves as an associate professor in the Department of Educational Counseling and Leadership at Monmouth University in New Jersey. She previously served as the assistant dean and acting dean of the School of Education at Monmouth.

“Dr. Mulvaney brings an invaluable breadth of experience as a special education scholar, middle school principal, community college and university faculty leader, and assistant dean,” Diane Prusank, Ph.D., provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs said. “I am confident her knowledge, dedication to public education and passion for cultivating new generations of teachers and academic leaders will further advance the School of Education’s mission and work.”

Mulvaney was selected for the dean role at UNCP following an extensive national search and will officially begin her role on January 16, 2024.

“I am thrilled to join UNC Pembroke,” Mulvaney said. “Educator preparation and development is built into the very foundation of this historic university. It is an honor to be asked to lead the School of Education at such an important time for public education in the region, state of North Carolina and the nation.”

UNC Pembroke was founded in 1887 with the mission to educate teachers. While the university has grown and greatly broadened its degree offerings into areas including the health sciences, business and economics and the liberal arts over the past 136 years, Mulvaney said UNCP’s drive to be a leading institution for preparing the next generation of teachers and educational leaders is clear.

“It’s truly unique to see an institution that lives its mission, but you can feel it everywhere on this campus. Nothing is more transformational for communities than education and UNCP is keenly focused on that work. I’m excited to work with the faculty, staff, students and university partners to further the school’s mission and achieve great outcomes,” she added.

During her time at Monmouth, Mulvaney was part of an advisory team that established a new doctoral program in educational leadership. Additionally, she collaborated with school partners to develop a teacher residency program and led study-abroad trips to China and England. Before Monmouth, she served as professor of education and department chair at Central Arizona College. She also participated in a professor exchange at Northeastern University in China.

A substantial portion of Mulvaney’s early career was spent in the classrooms of the Arizona public school system where she served in various roles including as a special education teacher, department chair, principal and district director of alternative programs. She also taught in the Pinal County (Ariz.) community college system in a historic HSI (Hispanic Serving Institute).

Mulvaney earned her doctorate in educational leadership at Northern Arizona University. She earned both her master’s degree in special education and her bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation/special education at the University of Arizona.

Throughout her extensive career, Mulvaney has served on several boards, including co-chair of the Middle-States Commission on Higher Education, CAEP Accreditation Committee chair and vice president of the Henry Hudson Regional Board of Education. She has been a national keynote speaker and presenter on topics including professional development, teacher residency programs, pk-12 and university partnerships and designing paid internships for teacher education.

Although UNCP is part of a larger, statewide system, Mulvaney said she was drawn to the university’s ‘community heart.’

“That’s what I felt when I did my research and came on campus,” she said. “I was impressed with the constituency groups that I met with, in that, they were all student-focused. It is clear UNCP is 100% committed to student success.”

Mulvaney said she plans to look to establish new programs, strengthen existing ones and support the state’s literacy initiative, which aims to award two million North Carolinians a postsecondary degree or high-quality credential by 2030.

All goals she said she couldn’t achieve alone.

“I believe in shared governance,” Mulvaney said. “Our collective voice is much louder and stronger than individual ones. That’s the philosophy I have had in every role I’ve served. I seek to understand what the students, faculty, staff and regional school systems’ needs are so that we can work together for the betterment of public education as a whole. Collaboration is key.”