Whitman College President Kathleen Murray today announced the appointment of Alzada J. Tipton as the college's new provost and dean of the faculty.
Currently the senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Elmhurst College in Illinois, Tipton will begin as Whitman College provost before the 2016-2017 academic year, succeeding Interim Provost Pat Spencer. Her responsibilities will include administering the academic program of the college, hiring and developing faculty, and overseeing accreditation and assessment.
"Dr. Tipton brings a wealth of experience as an academic administrator and a faculty member that I am confident will serve us well as we work to advance Whitman College," said President Kathleen Murray. "Throughout the interview process, she exuded warmth, a strong collaborative spirit and excellent leadership skills, and I look forward to our work together."
Tipton has 15 years of academic leadership experience including almost 10 years as the vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Elmhurst College and five years as dean of the college of liberal arts at Hamline University. Prior to that, she was associate professor of English at Hamline University.
Tipton is known as a dedicated teacher and scholar. She played an instrumental role in creating the curriculum for first-year students at Elmhurst College, pairing it with the new student orientation experience to win a best-practices award from the leading association for student affairs professionals. In addition to serving in her administrative role, Tipton teaches a first-year seminar each year, and advises the 18 students in her class. She has a strong commitment to diversity, and during her tenure at Elmhurst, the college increased the percentage of students of color from 9 to 33 percent through a variety of programs. Tipton also established the Center for Scholarship and Teaching at Elmhurst, a sign of her dedication to mentoring new faculty members and promoting faculty development.
Tipton has written several scholarly articles including "‘Lively Patterns for Affayres of State': Sir John Hayward's ‘Life and Reigne of King Henrie IIII' and the Earl of Essex," "Poetry, Patronage, and Identity in the Dance of the Graces, Book IV of ‘The Faerie Queene,'" and "‘Richard II' and Theories of the Subaltern Magistrate." She has recently completed a book manuscript about Edmund Spencer's "The Faerie Queene."
"I am very excited to be joining the Whitman College community," said Tipton. "It is a great honor to be able to be part of such an excellent institution, and I really look forward to working with the faculty and staff to continue to offer students the extraordinary education they receive at Whitman."
As provost and dean of the faculty, Tipton will be the chief academic officer of the college. She will build on past successes and plan for the future of Whitman's academic programs, contributing significantly to the college's next strategic plan. Tipton will maintain and enhance Whitman's commitment to the liberal arts, support and develop faculty, foster communication, trust and collaboration campus-wide and identify opportunities for creative innovation within the liberal arts.
Whitman's provost search committee worked for more than six months on the nationwide search, vetting and interviewing a diverse group of highly-qualified candidates. The firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates provided executive search services. Overall, the committee sought a candidate with broad intellectual curiosity, a deep commitment to the mission and values of a liberal arts college, strong leadership ability and communications skills, a passion for diversity and ability to attract and support a diverse and inclusive faculty community and a collaborative leadership style.
Melissa Clearfield, chair of the search committee and chair of the faculty, says she is very pleased with the decision and dedication of the search committee.
"At each step of the process, we engaged in lively discussions, and reached consensus before moving on to the next step," she said. "The input from the campus community, on the job description as well as the feedback on finalists' campus visits, was critical to the process." Clearfield added, "Throughout the search process, it was clear that Alzada Tipton is a great fit for Whitman's next Provost."
Tipton received her master's and doctorate in English at Duke University, and her undergraduate degree in English from Johns Hopkins University.