Saybrook College’s new dean, Christine Muller, who called her first few weeks on the job “energizing,” said she hopes to serve as a strong listener for her students.

Muller, who succeeded Paul McKinley DRA ’96 this summer, is a Philadelphia native who taught American studies at the University of Maryland and served in residential administrative positions at the University of Maryland and Villanova University. Saybrook Master Paul Hudak described Muller as “a compassionate person, very approachable, with a wry sense of humor and spirited intellectual curiosity” who has picked up on Yale customs very quickly and easily.

“Dean Muller has quickly assimilated [into] the Yale culture — it’s as if she’s already been here for 10 years,” Hudak said in an email. “I think it is her ability to really connect with students, staff and colleagues that has made this possible.”

Muller attended Villanova University for both undergraduate and graduate school before earning a doctorate in American studies from the University of Maryland, College Park in May 2011, after writing her dissertation about the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Muller said the deanship appealed to her because she enjoyed working with “highly motivated, highly talented” students as the assistant director of Villanova University’s Honors Program and hoped to engage with passionate students once more. She added that she looks forward to helping students think through questions they may have about their future.

“Most of the time, we do have the answers to many questions within ourselves, and its especially important that students recognize this empowerment,” she said.

Computer science professor Julie Dorsey, who served on the search committee, said the members of the search committee considered Muller a “real find” for the deanship, in part because she displayed a genuine interest in students and also has extensive administrative experience within student residences. Hudak appointed the search committee, which consisted of Hudak, three Saybrook fellows and three Saybrook students.

“She had the most insight about the job, asked the most probing questions, and gave the best, most reflective answers to our questions,” Dorsey said.

Yale College Dean Mary Miller said in a June email to the Saybrook community that Muller’s former students and colleagues have lauded Muller for her skills as a teacher and as an adviser to undergraduates.

After meeting Muller at sophomore registration on Tuesday, Teresa Logue ’15 said she thinks Muller will “make a great dean,” adding that she is “approachable, informed, helpful and friendly — and also respectful of students.”

Four Saybrook students interviewed called Muller energetic and approachable, and three mentioned that she has an impressive sense of style.

“Dean McKinley was always the best-dressed person around, so it’s great to see [Muller is] upholding that tradition,” Megan Ayers ’15 said.

McKinley, who served as dean of Saybrook from 1997-’03 and from 2005-’11, is now the associate dean of strategic communications for Yale College.