Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, June 20, 2013

New library dean also will serve as vice provost for digital educational initiatives

James L. Hilton, whose appointment as U-M’s next dean of libraries was approved in May, now has been appointed to the new position of vice provost for digital educational initiatives.

His vice provost appointment, effective July 1, was approved Thursday by the Board of Regents. He begins his five-year appointment as dean of libraries Sept. 1. Hilton comes to U-M from the University of Virginia, where, since 2006, he has been the vice president and chief information officer, and professor of psychology.

  James Hilton

In his role as vice provost, Hilton will ensure that the university “takes a leadership position in the rapidly changing field of education technology, deploying it in ways that preserve and enhance our traditional strengths in teaching and learning,” Provost Martha E. Pollack wrote in recommending him for the position.

Pollack says Hilton will be responsible for developing strategies and policies for the use of educational technology across the university; for coordinating cross-campus efforts; and for providing academic, administrative and financial recommendations relevant to all aspects of campuswide digital educational initiatives.

The scope of work will include educational technology that enhances the effectiveness and efficiency of on-campus teaching, as well as educational technology that expands the university's outreach to new audiences.

Pollack explained that Hilton will work closely with Gautam Kaul, who serves as special counsel for digital education initiatives. Kaul, a professor of finance in the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, was one of the initial U-M faculty members to teach an online course in 2012 through Coursera.

Hilton received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1981 from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1983 and 1985, respectively. He began his professional career at U-M in 1985 as an assistant professor of psychology and a faculty associate in the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Institute for Social Research. He was promoted to associate professor in psychology, with tenure, in 1991 and to professor in 1999. In 1997 he was awarded the Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship.

Administratively, from 1991 to 2000 Hilton served as undergraduate chair in the Department of Psychology. From 1999 to 2000 he served as the special assistant to the provost for media rights, and from 2001 to 2006 he served as associate provost for academic, information, and instructional technology affairs. During the 2005-06 academic year, he was interim university librarian.