Dr. Lauren Bell is currently the Dean of Academic Affairs and a Professor of Political Science at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia.
Dean Bell holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The College of Wooster (Wooster, Ohio), and Masters of Arts and PhD degrees from the University of Oklahoma, all in political science. She joined the faculty of Randolph-Macon College in 1999 and served as Assistant Director of the College’s Honors Program (2004-2006) and Associate Dean of the College from 2007-2014 before being appointed as Dean of Academic Affairs in May 2014.
As both Associate Dean and Dean, Bell’s portfolio has been primarily focused on promoting student success and retention. Under her leadership since 2015, Randolph-Macon College’s first-to-second year retention rate has increased by nearly 10 percentage points to consistently be in the mid-80 percent range, after decades of being stuck in the mid-to-high 70 percent range. Bell attributes this increase to her efforts to bring student advocates together and to listen to and incorporate feedback from students into the college’s student success programs.
A peer mentor herself while an undergraduate, Dean Bell has helped to design and supervise several iterations of Randolph-Macon College’s peer mentoring program since joining the College’s administration in 2007. She has overseen the College’s peer mentoring program for at-risk students, including successfully securing external funding to expand and grow the program between 2010 and 2013. She also designed the College’s current extended orientation/first-year seminar program, which includes a peer mentoring program for all new students, and she is currently leading implementation of the College’s 2017-2022 Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), which focuses on advising and student success.
Bell is a frequent presenter at regional and national meetings on the subjects of student academic success, student support services, and student persistence and retention. In February 2017, she was recognized as one of the ten national Outstanding First-Year Advocates named that year by the National Resource Center on the First Year Experience and Students in Transition.