Wendy L. Hill

Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Lafayette College

Wendy L. Hill has served as Lafayette’s provost and dean of the faculty since 2007. In this role, she has helped lead the efforts to implement the College’s strategic plan, The Plan for Lafayette, adopted in 2007, which places the academic program at its core and calls for significant new academic resources and curricular initiatives. Curricular advancements have been accomplished in the arts, the life sciences, global education, and the integration of engineering and the liberal arts, and a new common course of study for all students has been developed. Under her leadership, the faculty have made sweeping changes in the tenure and review policies and have adopted new interdisciplinary faculty appointment review procedures that have enhanced the interdisciplinary initiatives of the strategic plan. In the past three years, Lafayette has increased the size of the faculty by 10%, and Hill has instituted new procedures to attract, retain, and support excellent teacher-scholars. Working with her deans, Hill has also advanced new and dynamic approaches in admissions and greater support for academic and career advising for students.

Hill chaired the Campus Climate Working Group that conducted a two-year study (2009-11) to assess the campus environment experienced by students, faculty, and staff. The study represented Lafayette’s commitment to creating and maintaining an inclusive community that values, affirms, and advances the diverse backgrounds, interests, experiences, and aspirations of all its members. The College is implementing the working group’s recommendations for ways in which the College can be an even more welcoming and inclusive place. Hill has also supported new approaches that seek to enhance the diversity of the faculty and students and has guided efforts to infuse diversity and inclusiveness into the curriculum for all students.

During Hill’s time as provost, the College has undergone successful reaccreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and the four engineering departments and computer science department have been reaccredited by ABET. Hill has also played a critical role in collaborating with provosts from the other Patriot League institutions to establish a biannual academic conference that brings together faculty and administrators to explore issues central to the shared academic goals of the partner colleges.

A member of the Lafayette faculty since 1989, Hill holds the William C ’67 and Pamela H. Rappolt chair in neuroscience. She played a leading role in the development of the College’s interdisciplinary bachelor of science degree program in neuroscience and was its founding chair

Hill was named Pennsylvania’s Professor of the Year for 1999 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and CASE, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. The honor saluted her extraordinary dedication to teaching and exceptional impact on and involvement with undergraduate students.

Hill has developed several introductory and advanced courses and has involved more than 100 students in her research program, many of whom have coauthored papers with Hill that have been published in scientific journals or collaborated with her on conference presentations or published abstracts. Her recent research with students on the hormonal basis of attachment in humans has been featured in national and international print and electronic media, including ABC World News, CNN, MSNBC, Scientific American Mind, U.S. News & World Report, Discover, Chicago Tribune, The Independent (United Kingdom), Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), Money Times (India), and many more outlets via the Associated Press, BBC, and Reuters.

Hill has received research awards from numerous organizations, including the American Museum of Natural History, the American Ornithologists Union, the Fulbright Commission, and the Sigma Xi Research Society. In 2003, to support her sabbatical research, the James McKeen Cattell Fund honored her as one of four national fellowship recipients. In addition, she has received funding support for enhancing the neuroscience program from the National Science Foundation, Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, and Alden Trust.

Hill has received three major Lafayette awards for excellence in teaching, mentoring, and scholarship, including the James E. Lennertz Prize for Exceptional Teaching and Mentoring in 2005, Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award (1998), and Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Faculty Lecture Award, in recognition of excellence in teaching and scholarship (1995). She served as Metzgar Assistant Professor, an endowed position, from 1991 to 1995, when she was promoted to associate professor. She became full professor in 2000 and was appointed to the Rappolt Professorship in 2002. She spent the 2003-04 academic year as visiting research professor in the Department of Psychology at Cornell University.

Her service to Lafayette includes experience as a member of key committees of the faculty, including the Promotion, Tenure and Review Committee, Governance Committee, Academic Progress Committee, and Appeal and Grievance Committee, which she chaired. As a faculty member Hill served on the Strategic Planning Steering Committee that led a College-wide process that resulted in The Plan for Lafayette and she chaired the Subcommittee on the Life Sciences. She has also served as a faculty associate on committees of the Board of Trustees, including the Committee on Educational Policy, Committee on Grounds and Buildings, and Committee on Development and Alumni Affairs. In addition, she chaired the College’s Campus Life Committee and served on the Admissions Committee and the Presidential Working Group on Athletics.

Before coming to Lafayette, Hill conducted postdoctoral research and taught in the psychology department at Rutgers for five years. She received a Ph.D. from the University of Washington through the Department of Psychology’s Animal Behavior program, with a minor area in zoology/ecology. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with honors, from Douglass College, Rutgers University.

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