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Arts & Sciences Dean

Hilary Williams, MFA

Dean for the School of Arts & Sciences,
Associate Professor of Graphic Design & Digital Media

hilary.williams@colby-sawyer.edu

Hilary Williams is the inaugural Dean for the School of Arts & Sciences. She is a designer, educator, leader and listener who champions interdisciplinary learning, making connections, and moving people. Her approach to this administrative role is informed by a decade of teaching experience in higher education (both at Colby-Sawyer College and at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa), teaching and student development experience at the middle and high school level, and outdoor education leadership.

Hilary received her MFA in Studio Art: Graphic Design from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her BA in Studio Art and Environmental Studies from Williams College, where she received the Robert F. Rosenburg Award for Excellence in Environmental Studies, awarded to a member of the graduating class in recognition of outstanding scholarship, potential for solving local, national, or international environmental problems, and strong prospects for leadership in the environmental community.

Hilary currently serves on visiting accreditation evaluation teams for the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and as an institutional representative for the New England Transfer Guarantee with the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE). In 2024, she graduated from Leadership New Hampshire (LNH), a yearlong cohort program with the mission of “building a community of informed and engaged leaders.” Her recent prior professional and community service leadership includes chairing the New Hampshire Women in Higher Education (NHWHE) Board of Directors and serving on the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) NH Chapter Executive Committee.

Hilary has participated in leadership training and workshops with the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD), the American Council on Education (ACE), the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Her prior service leadership at the college includes chairing the Academic Policies Committee and the Department of Fine & Performing Arts, as well as collaborating with a small faculty/staff team to develop the Sustainable Learning Initiative at Franklin Falls, which received two rounds of funding from the Davis Educational Foundation Innovation Grant.

Hilary was the 2016 recipient of the Jack Jensen Award for Excellence in Teaching, the college's highest teaching award, which is presented annually to a faculty member who has made a distinct, positive difference in the college's academic climate. Her writing about academic leadership has been published in The ACAD Leader and The Department Chair. In addition to higher education, she is committed to design for good and has had her work in environmental graphics, identity design, and editorial design recognized and awarded in regional, national and international design competitions.