Tilton named College of Arts and Sciences’ interim dean
Photo credit: Ronda DuTeil
Pitching in wherever she’s needed always has come naturally to Abigail Tilton.
“I’m an ‘All hands on deck’ kind of person,” she said.
Now, Tilton has stepped in as interim dean of the Texas Woman’s University College of Arts and Sciences following the pending retirement of longtime dean Ann Q. Staton.
Staton, who has served as dean of the college since 2005, will retire effective Jan. 31. Tilton said Staton’s help has been invaluable as she prepares to lead the college in the interim.
It’s not the first time Tilton has taken on a leadership role.
Tilton stepped in as director of field education for TWU’s social work program when the previous director became ill — “They needed someone to step up, so I stepped up,” she said — and later became the program’s interim director. When the university’s department of sociology and social work needed a chairperson in spring 2011 and again during summer 2014, Tilton took on the role of acting chair. She served as social work program director from 2006 to 2013, and was interim associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences before taking on the role of interim dean. She also has continued her teaching duties.
The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest of TWU’s four colleges and includes programs in the humanities, sciences, social sciences, fashion and textiles and general studies, as well as the School of the Arts. The diversity of the college programs is what excites Tilton most about serving as interim dean.
“I can walk over to the dance building and see what they’re doing, or walk over to the science building and look at the labs,” she said. “It’s just a constant state of learning about all these different disciplines and how best to support the students in these programs.”
Tilton also wants to support faculty development and strengthen the new faculty mentor program. She also is committed to the TWU-Women in Higher Education organization, which is dedicated to developing women as leaders in higher education. Tilton co-chaired the committee that developed two successful Women’s Leadership Conferences at TWU and led to ongoing book clubs and networking opportunities for women in North Texas.
Prior to joining TWU, Tilton served as executive director of AIDS Services of North Texas, Inc. She previously had served as the Skilled Nursing Unit program manager at Dallas Rehabilitation Hospital and as a social worker for HCA-Lewisville Memorial Hospital.
“Dr. Tilton has a strong repertoire of leadership experiences that will allow her to effectively carry out the many responsibilities of the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences,” said Jennifer Martin, TWU senior associate provost. “We appreciate her willingness to serve in this important dean’s role just as she has effectively served her discipline, her college, and TWU since she joined us in 2003.”
TWU Provost Robert Neely said the national search for a permanent dean “is progressing on schedule, with one of the largest applicant pools TWU has enjoyed in recent years for a dean’s position.” Finalists for the position will be invited for campus interviews to take place early in the spring semester, he said.