Headshot of Linda Bell

After more than a decade of extraordinary service as Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Linda A. Bell will step down from her role at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year to return to her award-winning research as an economist and as a member of the Barnard faculty. Provost Bell leaves behind a long list of accomplishments, as she championed faculty and enhanced the integrity of the College’s academic programs in partnership with three presidents — President Debora Spar, who recruited Bell in 2012 from Haverford College in Pennsylvania, where she served as provost and the John B. Hurford Professor of Economics; President Sian Leah Beilock; and President Laura Rosenbury

Provost Bell led the charge in 2014 to establish Barnard’s Summer Research Institute (SRI). Since its launch that year, SRI has provided summer funding, subsidized campus housing, and supportive programming for 1,400 students conducting STEM research under the guidance of a faculty mentor. 

She oversaw the implementation of Foundations, the curriculum that prepares Barnard students for the future, adding depth and breadth to the College’s existing course of study by emphasizing technology and digital learning, international and global learning, and the importance of quantitative and empirical reasoning. 

Many students have benefited from her tenure, which included the inauguration of the Accelerated 4+1 Pathways for graduate study in cooperation with Columbia University, featuring new alliances with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) in chemical, biomedical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering; computer science; and industrial engineering and operations research; and with the Mailman School of Public Health, with distinct humanities, social science, and natural science tracks.

She launched the Center for Engaged Pedagogy (CEP) to strengthen Barnard’s deep academic engagement and support for student and community well-being by offering programming on teaching and learning topics; developing and sharing pedagogical scholarship; building and sustaining relationships within and beyond Barnard; and providing tools and resources to the campus community that proved pivotal at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, she was a key player in the design and programming of the College’s academic hub, the Cheryl & Philip Milstein Center for Teaching & Learning, and led the College through its successful reaccreditation with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in 2022.

“Linda has been a wonderful partner these past three months, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with her this year,” said President Rosenbury. “We will celebrate Linda’s many accomplishments later this year. It is so impressive to realize that when she steps down, her 12 years of service will be three times the median term for provosts nationwide. She has contributed so much to the Barnard community.” 

“It has been a privilege and an honor to lead this extraordinary faculty and to work closely with so many committed colleagues on senior staff, in the Provost’s Office, and throughout the College to advance the mission of the College on behalf of our incredible students,” said Provost Bell. “While I look forward to returning to research and teaching, I will surely miss the collaborations and friendships that have been cultivated and nourished across this amazing community.”

The College will soon begin a nationwide search for its next Provost and Dean of the Faculty, and Provost Bell will stay in her administrative role through the 2023-2024 academic year. 

She will remain at Barnard to resume her award-winning research as an economist and, after a well-earned sabbatical, will also teach as a member of the Barnard faculty.

About Linda A. Bell

Bell was named Barnard’s Provost and Dean of the Faculty in September 2012. She is also a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany, and a senior consultant for the labor practice group of the National Economic Research Associates.

An empirical economist specializing in labor markets and public policy, Bell received her Ph.D. from Harvard University and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a University Scholar. She came to Barnard from Haverford College, where she was provost and the John B. Hurford Professor of Economics. She was also a senior economist in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and project faculty on a Danish Research Council-funded initiative at the Aarhus Business School in Denmark. She has served as a board member on the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession of the American Economic Association and has held visiting faculty appointments at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Stanford University.

In her varied professional and scholarly capacities, Provost Bell has served as a consultant to the World Bank and the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition to her academic work and teaching, she has been active in the American Association of University Professors, first in the capacity as chair of the Committee on Faculty Compensation, where she authored the association’s Annual Faculty Compensation Report from 1997 to 2001, and then as a national council representative from 2003 to 2006.

She has written and lectured extensively on the topic of compensation, union concessions, and hours of work in the U.S. and Europe. Her recent research focuses on the determination of gender compensation differences in executive pay in large U.S. corporations generally and on female mentorship at the executive level specifically. Her work has been published in the Journal of Labor Economics, Labour, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Economic Journal, Economic Letters, Proceedings of the ILLR, and the Federal Reserve Bank Quarterly Review.