As Silliman College Dean Jessie Hill prepares to take up the deanship of Benjamin Franklin College at the end of the academic year, the search for her successor is well underway.
Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway told the News that a committee tasked with searching for Hill’s successor was convened “well before” spring break and immediately began reviewing applicants. The nine-member committee, chaired by Head of Silliman College Laurie Santos, includes faculty, administrators, a college fellow and four Silliman students. Holloway said the search for Hill’s successor should conclude in April and that he hopes the new dean can be announced before the end of the month.
Hill, who has served as the dean of Silliman College since 2014, said she is not involved in the search.
“The outgoing dean doesn’t play a formal role in the selection of her successor,” Hill said. “Once a new dean is announced I will of course make myself available to orient and mentor in any way that’s helpful, with the best interests of Silliman at heart.”
Members of the dean’s search committee directed questions to Santos, who did not respond to requests for comment.
Hill will take up her full-time duties as dean of Benjamin Franklin College on July 1, 2017, just a few weeks before Franklin and Pauli Murray colleges open their doors. Hill — who served as the secretary for the Two New Colleges Steering Committee, a group of faculty, undergraduates and administrators who have been planning the logistics for the new colleges — announced her move to members of the Silliman community in an email last December.
“Though I will miss you all, more than I can really process just yet, I know I leave you in very good hands,” Hill wrote. “I only hope with time Franklin will grow into a college as vibrant and caring as Silliman.”
And in an email to the News, Hill noted that Santos is a “committed and wonderful” leader, adding that she would not be able to leave if she “didn’t know in [her] bones that the college is thriving.”
As she prepares to take up the position of inaugural dean of Franklin College, Hill said she and the head of Franklin, Charles Bailyn ’81, are holding meals and gatherings with new Franklin students. In addition, they are planning a spring retreat for students and other members of the Franklin community.
In an email, Bailyn praised Hill for her leadership in Silliman and her role in making the new colleges a reality.
“There’s just about nothing she doesn’t know about the considerations that went into what has been done,” Bailyn said. “And of course she’s also an experienced and successful dean.”
In addition to the search for Hill’s successor, searches for new heads for Branford and Davenport colleges as well as a new dean of Yale College are also ongoing. According to Holloway, the results of these searches are also expected to be announced in April.
Before her appointment as dean of Silliman, Hill served as an associate director of admissions at Yale.