Group 31

Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates enjoys a close working relationship with the University of Denver, having completed a number of important searches there. Each search, of course, is different – a different committee, a fresh set of goals and challenges, a new pool of candidates – and each time, the firm proves itself to be a nimble, connected, and responsive partner.

In 2017, the University partnered with a search team led by Susan VanGilder and Beth McCarthy to identify a new Senior Associate Dean and Chief Academic Officer for the University's Josef Korbel School of International Studies. From an appealing, experienced, and diverse group of candidates, Pardis Mahdavi was selected for the role. Previously she served as Dean of Women and Professor and Chair of Anthropology at Pomona College and as Director of Pomona's Pacific Basin Institute.

"We are delighted to bring in someone of Dr. Mahdavi's caliber to help shape the school and its students to navigate in the field of international studies and global affairs in the coming years," said University of Denver Dean Christopher R. Hill.

Since arriving, Mahdavi has earned her place and more. Within months she was asked to serve as the Korbel School's acting Dean, a role she currently occupies. 

Scholar and Leader

Mahdavi's research interests include gendered labor, human trafficking, migration, sexuality, human rights, youth culture, transnational feminism, and public health in the context of changing global and political structures. Her four books include her most recent work, Crossing the Gulf: Love and Family in Migrants' Lives (Stanford University Press, 2017), which examines the intimate lives of women in three Gulf cities: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Kuwait City. With its close study of love, family relationships, and the powers of state policy that affect migrants across borders, it has been called a "gem" and "path breaking." 

Mahdavi has also published:

  • Passionate Uprisings: Iran's Sexual Revolution (Stanford University Press, 2008) 
  • Gridlock: Labor, Migration and Human Trafficking in Dubai (Stanford University Press, 2011) 
  • From Trafficking to Terror: Constructing a Global Social Problem (Routledge, 2013)
Mahdavi will be responsible for overseeing all long-term aspects of the academic administration of the school and is expected to develop a long–term vision and strategy to significantly enhance the research and pedagogical capability at Korbel.

Founded in 1964, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies is one of the world's leading schools for the study of international relations.
"It is truly an honor to join the extraordinary community of scholars, researchers, activists, educators and innovators at Korbel," says Mahdavi. "DU is unique in its mission as a private university for the public good. As the world changes around us so rapidly, we have an obligation to engage the most difficult issues and take on the most pressing challenges of our time. I look forward to working with the community at Korbel and across DU to better the world around us."

Mahdavi received her Ph.D. in sociomedical sciences and anthropology and her M.Phil. in anthropology and master's in international affairs from Columbia University, and a bachelor's in diplomacy and world affairs from Occidental College.

Storbeck/Pimentel Team Profile

Susan VanGilder


With more than 20 years’ executive search experience, Susan has identified and recruited leaders for a wide variety of institutions in the education and nonprofit sectors, in the United States and abroad.

Storbeck/Pimentel Team Profile

Beth McCarthy

Senior Associate

Beth McCarthy offers a longstanding commitment to higher education through her work in recruitment and enrollment management. This commitment spans the entirety of her career and employment at a variety of higher education institutions.