We are delighted to announce that, effective July 1, Wendy Hill, Rappolt Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience, will serve as the inaugural full-time director of the Daniel and Heidi ’91 Hanson Center for Inclusive STEM Education.
The Hanson Center seeks to advance both our understanding and practices of inclusion and equity in STEM. To help create a STEM community where all members thrive, the center develops evidence-informed programming that supports students and faculty with historically excluded identities and furthers faculty development of inclusive pedagogies and curricula. The Hanson Center also serves as a research and collaboration center, bringing together educators interested in exploring effective STEM pedagogies and courses, and teaching and research focused on the “culture of STEM” through STEM Studies or STS (Science, Technology, & Society) lenses. We are excited about the future of inclusive STEM education at Lafayette under Hill’s leadership.
Hill has been serving as co-director of the Hanson Center, working diligently in partnership with Jenn Rossmann, Baird Professor of Mechanical Engineering, to advance the center’s mission and to lead and develop programs with impact. We are immensely grateful to Rossmann’s service as co-director during the past two years. Her leadership, along with that of former co-director, professor Chawne Kimber, has been critical to the successful launch and strategic direction of the Hanson Center. Their collective efforts have paved the way for the center to make significant positive change in inclusive STEM at the College and beyond.
“Dr. Hill’s track record of advancing inclusion and equity in STEM is an impressive and inspiring one. Her expertise as both an educator and a scholar fit perfectly with the mission of the Hanson Center, a combination research-and-praxis center. The center’s distinctive focus on both inclusive STEM education and STEM studies demonstrates Lafayette’s leadership in this field,” says Rossmann. “Working with Wendy has been energizing and fun. While it has been an honor to work with great colleagues and collaborators to get the center off the ground, I’m thrilled that the Hanson Center will have a dedicated full-time director, and I feel tremendously grateful that Wendy Hill will be that director.”
Hill brings a wealth of administrative experience to her new position. She served as Lafayette’s Provost and Dean of the Faculty from 2007-14 and led the Campus Climate Working Group, which designed and conducted an extensive campus climate study to help make Lafayette a more welcoming and equitable environment. She was also instrumental to the College being awarded an HHMI grant that strengthened teaching and research in the life sciences and developed programs to support students from historically marginalized groups. As Provost, Hill led the implementation of the College’s strategic plan and guided curricular advancements in the arts, life sciences, global education, environmental sciences and studies, and the integration of engineering and liberal arts. She increased support for interdisciplinary programs and, working collaboratively with the faculty, enhanced the transparency and clarity of standards and procedures of the tenure process. Hill provided leadership for grants from the Mellon Foundation and Teagle Foundation, and, as a Liaison to the Posse Foundation, was actively involved in selecting and supporting Posse Scholars and mentors.
Hill was the founding Chair of the Neuroscience Program and created the LEARN Program, which pairs students with alumni neuroscientists at universities to provide summer research opportunities. She also initiated the first Patriot League Academic Conference on STEM education to foster collaboration among the member colleges and their faculty.
In reflecting on her appointment, Hill shared: “I believe deeply in the mission of the Hanson Center, and it has been an honor and a joy to work with Jenn Rossmann. I am grateful to have the opportunity to continue this work–collaborating and partnering with faculty, staff, and students, so that all can thrive in the STEM fields. Lafayette can be a national leader among liberal arts colleges in advancing inclusive excellence in STEM. Given the strength of our faculty, we not only can be a consumer of best practices, but, through our own research and efforts, a creator of them as well. I am thrilled to be working to realize the distinctive mission of the Hanson Center and to honor the generosity and vision of Heidi and Dan Hanson in establishing the Center.”
Besides being a dynamic and effective administrator, Hill is the consummate teacher-scholar and was honored as the Pennsylvania Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and CASE. She has received awards from Lafayette to recognize her outstanding teaching and scholarship, among them the Jones Faculty Lecture Award, the Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award, the James P. Lennertz Award for Exceptional Teaching and Mentoring, and the Delta Upsilon Distinguished Mentoring and Teaching Award.
“Dr. Hill has been a great inspiration for pushing our boundaries on what we can achieve with STEM,” says Edward Santos ’22, a neuroscience major and lab assistant in Hill’s Physiological Psychology II course. “She has helped me appreciate and see how expansive the neuroscience field is.” Santos participated in the Summer Program to Advance Leadership in STEM (SPAL), a program the Hanson Center oversees.
To support her scholarly endeavors, Hill has received external funding, including from the National Science Foundation, and was honored nationally with a fellowship from the James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Fellowship Fund. She has published peer-reviewed journal articles and written chapters for edited volumes on the neuroscience and behavioral ecology of behavior, and has authored essays on inclusion and equity in STEM. Hill has a wide range of college and professional service, and has been on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Council for Undergraduate Research and the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience.
We look forward to the Hanson Center and inclusive STEM flourishing under Hill’s leadership. With her deep commitment to making STEM a welcoming space for all students and faculty and her broad experiences as a faculty member, educational and administrative leader, and collaborator, we anticipate with enthusiasm the great strides ahead for the Hanson Center.
Jamila Bookwala, Dean of the Faculty
John Meier, Provost