Crittenton Women’s Union (CWU), a Boston-based nonprofit innovator in helping low-income women and their families become economically self-sufficient, has named Mary D. Coleman, PhD as its new Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Coleman will provide oversight and development to all programmatic divisions of CWU and organization-wide operational leadership.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Mary Coleman to CWU, said Elisabeth D. Babcock, MCRP, PhD, President and CEO, Crittenton Women’s Union. “In addition to being a leading university administrator, Mary brings us a lifetime of experience as a highly regarded political scientist. Her research has focused on the ways in which government policies affect the chances for low-income people to get ahead and we know that her wisdom will enhance everything we do to evolve and scale our programs.”

Dr. Coleman brings more than 30 years of higher education experience in executing organization goals and overseeing programs and services. Her background includes developing and implementing strategic plans, creating program evaluation and assessment tools for university programs, leading quality improvements, and creating faculty development initiatives.

For the past five years, Dr. Coleman has excelled as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Lesley University, where she focused on strategic planning, well-being initiatives for faculty and students, high impact advising programs, freshman student retention, and the Lesley University Initiative on Child Homelessness, which she founded. Recently, Dr. Coleman co-developed a Master of Science in management degree at Lesley University and successfully led nine academic program reviews. Her recent scholarship focused on multi-generational exits from rural poverty and Supreme Court decision-making in the higher education sphere. Dr. Coleman’s book, Legislators, Law and Public Policy, focused on understanding political change in the Deep South during the post-multi-member apportionment era.

Prior to her role as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dr. Coleman was Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Director of Center for University Scholars at Jackson State University, where she held similar professional positions in higher education positions, and conducted programs and teaching opportunities through grant awards from the international organization USAID.

She also dedicated several years to teaching and developing programs in the civil society sector in Cuba and Palestine and has lectured widely in nations throughout the world, including Luanda, Angola, Bucharest, Romania, Lusaka, Zambia and Baku, Azerbaijan. In 2005-06, she won a prestigious Woodrow Wilson International Scholar’s award for her work on rural poverty. She is the past recipient of research awards from the National Science Foundation and the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education.

Dr. Coleman was a postdoctoral fellow in public policy at University of Maryland and in liberal arts at Harvard School of Law, and holds a doctoral degree and a master’s degree in political science from University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a bachelor’s degree in political science from Jackson State University.