McMahon hired as sexual assault services and prevention specialist

Sheila McMahon

Brandeis University has hired Sheila McMahon to lead sexual assault services and prevention activities. As sexual assault services and prevention specialist, she will coordinate advocacy services for survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking; conduct outreach and education to promote a healthy campus environment, and serve as a liaison to student organizations. She will start Nov. 1.

Professor Anita Hill, senior adviser to the provost and professor of social policy, law, and women’s studies, said, “Ms. McMahon brings a powerful combination of individual counseling skills, community programming experience and knowledge of leading-edge, evidence-based intervention in the area of sexual assault services and prevention that will be a tremendous asset to our community.”

McMahon brings to the position experience at the Center on Violence Against Women and Children at the Rutgers School of Social Work. She spent four years as director of the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) at Boston College, where she built a campus-community coalition to gain support for and implement a campus-wide peer-led bystander intervention program. McMahon also created educational programs, and chaired the WRC Advisory Committee, the Body Confidence Committee and the Sexual Assault Network. She also has several years of experience in social work including individual case management and therapeutic approaches as well as community organization and policy advocacy.

“I am thrilled to welcome Sheila McMahon to the Brandeis community,” said Professor Bernadette Brooten, who served on the search committee. “Her expertise, energy and thoughtful approach to the complex issue of sexual violence will be a great asset to this institution and I look forward to working with her.” Brooten is the Robert and Myra Kraft and Jacob Hiatt Professor of Christian Studies, professor of classical studies, of women's and gender studies, and of religious studies and director of the Feminist Sexual Ethics Project.

“Sheila McMahon is a transformative leader for sexual assault services and prevention, not just for Brandeis, but in higher education at the national level,” said Andrew Flagel, senior vice president for students and enrollment.

McMahon received her BA in English and women’s studies magna cum laude from Boston College and earned her MDiv at Harvard University. She went on to complete leadership training at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management and her MSW from Rutgers University School of Social Work. She will graduate with her PhD in social work in May 2014, during which she has been a researcher for a grant examining the effectiveness of a bystander education intervention using peer theater for first-year students.  

Brandeis Director of Athletics Sheryl Sousa ’90, who chaired the search committee, said, “I could not be happier to welcome Sheila McMahon to the Brandeis team and I want to thank the faculty, staff and students on the search committee as well as the student leaders and others who took part in the interview process for this comprehensive national search for their hard work to fill this important campus leadership position.”

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