Sarah Mustillo appointed dean of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters

Author: Patrick Gibbons

Sarah A. Mustillo, department chair and professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters by University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. She succeeds John McGreevy, who is stepping down July 1 after serving 10 years as dean. 

An expert in the social causes of childhood mental illness and statistical methods used in social science research, Mustillo joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2014, after serving seven years as a professor of sociology at Purdue University and six years on the faculty at Duke University School of Medicine. She has served as chair of the Department of Sociology since 2016.

“Throughout her career, Sarah has proven herself to be an accomplished scholar and skilled administrator,” Father Jenkins said. “Since returning to Notre Dame, she has shown character, selflessness, sound judgment and commitment to our distinctive Catholic mission through her service as department chair and on numerous committees and advisory boards. Sarah’s global perspective and focus on integrated learning and knowledge make her an ideal candidate to lead the College of Arts and Letters.”

As dean, Mustillo will lead Notre Dame’s largest and oldest college, comprising 20 departments and more than 550 faculty members.

“Sarah is a gifted leader, teacher and researcher who will bring to this position a deep understanding of the college and its mission, as well as a compelling vision for its future,” said Thomas G. Burish, Charles and Jill Fischer Provost. “The search committee members were uniformly impressed with her deep commitment to providing our students with a world-class education that integrates a strong Catholic liberal arts foundation with state-of-the-art analytical tools and methods and a global perspective.”  

Mustillo said she is humbled by the confidence being placed in her.

“I am honored and delighted to be offered this challenging new role and to work with some of the very brightest scholars and dedicated academic professionals in the country and indeed the world,” Mustillo said. “I am exceedingly grateful for the trust being placed in me, and I look forward to working alongside students, faculty and colleagues across the college and University as we advance academic excellence and our distinctive scholarly mission at our nation’s premier Catholic research university.”    

Mustillo earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from Duke University, after graduating magna cum laude from Notre Dame in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and gender studies.

Mustillo’s research interests include medical sociology, statistics, social epidemiology and social psychology. She is co-editor of the American Sociological Review, the author of more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and a frequent speaker at domestic and international conferences on topics ranging from child mental health and wellness to advanced statistical methods.

Mustillo has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on several multimillion-dollar grant-funded studies and is presently co-investigator on a $2.4 million study of sibling socialization of alcohol and drug use from early through late adolescence, funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

In the classroom, Mustillo has been honored with a number of awards for teaching and scholarship excellence, including a fellowship from the Center for Instructional Excellence at Purdue.

Mustillo said she plans to continue building upon the college’s strong undergraduate programs in the arts, humanities and social sciences, focusing on ways to maximize their vibrancy and relevance for the 21st century, while elevating the prominence of Notre Dame’s graduate programs and supporting the research and creative activity of its scholars.

Burish praised the search committee, which recommended Mustillo.

“The search committee members worked tirelessly, selflessly and effectively to identify and recruit a strong field of candidates for this important position,” he said. “The members represented the University well and were exceptional in every respect.”

Originally published by Patrick Gibbons at on February 28, 2018.