Shari McMahan, Ph.D.


Eastern Washington University

Dr. Shari McMahan was appointed President of Eastern Washington University in February 2022. Prior to her appointment, Dr. McMahan served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), one of the most diverse institutions in California. At CSUSB 83% of the students are first generation and 63% are pell grant recipients. CSUSB reflects the dynamic diversity of the region and it has the second highest African American and Hispanic enrollments of all public universities in California. As Provost she oversees Academic Programs, Academic Personnel, Academic Research, Graduate Studies, Undergraduate Studies, University Library, Palm Desert Campus, Teaching Resource Center, Office of Community Engagement, College of Arts and Letters, Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration, College of Education, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the College of Natural Sciences.

Although her portfolio is quite extensive, Dr. McMahan is proud of her leadership on two specific campus initiatives: quarter to semester conversion and the graduation initiative 2025. Her leadership is instrumental in leading the curriculum alignment and increasing the 4 and 6 year graduation rates. She is a strong proponent of high-impact practices, including student research, implementing living learning communities, themed residence halls, faculty and staff diversity, and has participated on the urban-serving universities task force on cultural competency of institutions.

She previously served as Deputy Provost, Dean of the College of Health and Human Development (CHHD), and Interim Associate Vice President of Research, Creative Activities and Technology Transfer at California State University Fullerton (CSUF), one of the largest Hispanic Serving Comprehensive Universities on the west coast. She has worked extensively in community engagement and partnership development leading her campus to be on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll honor roll. Prior experiences at CSUF included: Chair, Department of Health Science; Coordinator, Masters of Public Health program; Director of the Center for the Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles and Obesity Prevention; Associate Director of Graduate Studies; and Committee Member on several key university committees, including Academic Senate Executive Council, Graduate Education, General Education, Professional Leaves, University Advancement, and Instructionally Related Activities.

Her primary research is in health education and health promotion, specifically preventing obesity in at-risk communities. Her Centers for Disease Control-funded study on obesity prevention was featured in the HBO documentary “Weight of the Nation.” She utilizes a social ecological perspective by examining issues contextually to appreciate the influence of individuals, social settings, policies/legislation, and the physical environment. She was promoted to full professor in 2005. She received a grant on health career opportunities for underrepresented students, and has secured over $5,000,000 in external funding, published over 50 journal articles, books chapters, monographs and reviews, and given over 100 presentations to scholarly and community groups regarding her research.

Dr. McMahan maintains her Masters-level prepared Certified Health Education Specialist certification. Organizational health and well-being are important to her, and she has significant leadership experience in a number of professional organizations, including: Vice President of Health and Vice President of Research in the Southwest District of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

She earned a Ph.D. in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine — specialty areas of study include environmental health, worksite health, and health promotion. Prior degrees are a B.A. in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine and M.S. in Health Science from California State University Northridge.