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Deborah F. Mullen to be installed on March 26 as Columbia Seminary’s dean of faculty and executive vice president


photo by Coenraad Brand
Decatur, GA. Deborah Flemister Mullen will be installed as dean of faculty and executive vice president at Columbia Theological Seminary on Monday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall Chapel on the seminary campus. A reception follows the service in the Broyles Leadership Center.

 A seasoned academic administrator and an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Dr. Mullen is the first African American woman to hold the position of chief academic officer at any of the ten seminaries of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Since her arrival at Columbia in late 2010, she has been leading the faculty in curriculum and accreditation reviews, which are integral parts of an institution-wide visioning process that will guide the work of the seminary for the next decade. She is also engaged in the development of strategic partnerships with Presbyterian theological institutions in South Korea, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa. 

Dr. Mullen came to Columbia from McCormick Theological Seminary, in Chicago, where since 1998 she had been dean of masters level programs. She joined the McCormick faculty in 1989 to fill the newly created position of associate dean of masters programs for experiential education and field studies. Dr. Mullen was appointed associate professor of ministry and historical studies with tenure in 2003. She also served as founding director of the Center for African American Ministries and Black Church Studies from 2003 to 2010.   

Before joining the McCormick faculty, Dr. Mullen was associate dean of students/director of minority student affairs at her alma mater, the University of Rochester. She received the M.Div. degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School/Bexley Hall/Crozer Theological Seminary, and served on the Board of Trustees. She received the Ph.D. in the history of Christianity from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago.  

A former member of the Chicago and Genesee Valley (NY) presbyteries, Dr. Mullen served a four-year appointment as stated supply pastor of Trinity Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, in Rochester. During her pastorate she was active ecumenically and was a collaborator with other local church pastors in the development of ministries for families and youth on the southwest side of Rochester. 

From 1988 to 2000, Dr. Mullen represented the Presbyterian Church (USA) on the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches of Christ, serving two terms on the executive committee and as its vice chair. She 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 Presbyterian Publishing Corporation’s board of directors.

Among her published works are articles and book chapters found in Shaping Beloved Community: Multicultural Theological Education, 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).


Columbia Theological Seminary, located in Decatur, GA, was established in 1828 and is one of 10 theological institutions of the Presbyterian Church (USA). The seminary offers seven graduate degree programs: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts (Theological Studies), Master of Arts in Practical Theology, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, Doctor of Educational Ministry, and Doctor of Theology in Pastoral Counseling. Currently 421 students are enrolled, representing 30 denominations, 34 states, and 10 countries. More information:


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