After reviewing dozens of resumes and interviewing many candidates, the Binghamton University Harpur College of Arts and Sciences dean search committee has selected Elizabeth Chilton as the new dean of Harpur College.
The search committee, which included Upinder Dhillon, dean of the School of Management and chair of the committee; Linda Spear, professor of psychology; Omowunmi Sadik, professor of chemistry; and Kaitlin Biagiotti, the undergraduate student representative, expressed confidence in its selection of Chilton for the post.
According to Dhillon, Chilton exhibited most of the necessary characteristics for the position of all the candidates.
“Dean Chilton has had sustained experience in leadership positions of increasing responsibility and scope,” Dhillon wrote in an email. “She is a collaborative leader with a strong appreciation of a liberal arts education at a top-tier public research university. She is a creative problem solver who has the vision to develop strategies that enhance the reputation of Harpur College.”
Specifically, Chilton stood out due to her leadership experience and communication skills, Spear said.
“All of the candidates interviewed had notable strengths,” Spear said. “What made Dr. Chilton stand out in particular was her strong interpersonal skills and her strong background of experiences that make her particularly well-suited to enter this deanship.”
Chilton is currently a professor of anthropology and the associate vice chancellor for research and engagement at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. According to Chilton, BU proved to be a welcoming environment throughout the search process and she is looking forward to her new start as the Harpur College dean.
“As an archaeologist whose scholarship really spans the arts and sciences, from bone chemistry of dog remains to the interpretation of artistic design motifs on ancient pottery, and as an academic leader who has served in administration for more than 10 years, I am excited to have the opportunity to apply that experience and commitment toward Harpur College’s continuing success,” Chilton said.
According to Spear, the committee had to combine its diverse opinions and backgrounds in order to narrow down the pool of applicants and select the candidate that is best fit to lead the school.
After the previous dean of Harpur College, Anne McCall, left the University last spring, professor of psychology Terrence Deak took over as interim dean. According to Deak, the new dean must be well prepared and establish clear priorities.
“The key attributes necessary to be successful as the dean of Harpur College are vision, fortitude and the ability to connect personally with a multitude of people,” Deak said. “My expectation is that any new dean would come in with pre-formed ideas about where [they] would like to take the college and be able to develop a vision for the college that engages the interests and aptitudes in our rich intellectual environment. It will take fortitude to manage a college of this size because the number of great opportunities outweighs the resources available.”
According to Provost Donald Nieman, Chilton attracted the attention of the committee with her impressive background and qualifications.
“Dr. Chilton rose to the top of a very competitive field of candidates,” Nieman wrote in an email. “She stood out not only because of her outstanding record of teaching and scholarship but also because of her strong listening skills, commitment to diversity and collaborative approach to academic leadership. I know she will be welcomed by Harpur faculty, staff and students and build on Harpur’s longstanding tradition of excellence.”
Chilton will be working with Deak over the next few months during the transition, and will officially take the position of Harpur College dean in July.