Wellesley Announces New Vice President and Dean of Students Sheilah Shaw Horton
WELLESLEY, Mass.--Wellesley College today announced the appointment of Sheilah Shaw Horton, Ph.D., as Wellesley’s next vice president and dean of students. An accomplished professional with more than 30 years of experience in higher education, Horton fills a critical role at a critical time as Wellesley, widely recognized for its academic rigor as the leading college for educating women, moves forward with building and sustaining an exceptional student experience. She will begin her new role at Wellesley on July 3, 2017, the start of the 2017 academic year.
According to Paula A. Johnson, president of Wellesley College, Horton’s strong record as a leader, a practitioner, and an exceptional administrator, make her the ideal person to “lead and inspire the College as we reimagine student life at Wellesley for the 21st century.” Johnson said, “Sheilah’s thorough understanding of contemporary issues in student affairs, together with her commitment to student wellness and to advancing equity, and her great enthusiasm for Wellesley College, make her the right person to join my Senior Leadership team and lead the College’s Student Life team.”
Horton was selected following an in-depth, national search chaired by Wellesley Provost Andrew Shennan, who led a search committee staffed by students, faculty, and Trustees.
Brenna Greer, Knafel Assistant Professor of the Social Sciences, Assistant Professor of the Social Sciences, and a member of the search committee, said that Horton made a strong impression when she described the role as “an opportunity for her to ‘double down’ on the things she loves: promoting wellness among young women and contributing to a community characterized by its commitment to equity, in addition to diversity and inclusion.” Greer continued, “I am convinced that the most challenging aspects of this position are precisely why she sought it.”
Student Amal Cheema ’17, who also served on the search committee, said that she is certain that Horton will “not only listen to students with empathy and reason, but also advocate for them and ensure that each student has a strong, positive connection to our community.” Cheema said, “I was impressed by how Dr. Horton emphasized synergies among health, equity, and academics, and then gave weight to her words by describing many thoughtful actions she has taken to improve student life. I am confident that she will draw upon her counseling background in ensuring students receive valuable, genuine care, while also guaranteeing that all students will be included and provided equitable opportunities.”
Horton is thrilled to have the opportunity to join the Wellesley community, where her “passion for developing student leaders—especially women leaders—is highly consistent with the core mission of the institution.” She said, “I look forward to partnering with President Johnson and the Senior Leadership team, my Student Affairs colleagues, the world-renowned faculty, and especially the bright and engaged students at this exciting time in the history of the school."
Horton is currently in her sixth year at Loyola University Maryland, where she is vice president of student development and dean of students. She leads 15 Loyola departments that provide a wide array of programs and services designed to enhance students’ academic and personal success. Among other goals, she has focused on innovating new models of integrated programming to successfully connect the academic and co-curricular lives of students on a residential campus. And, as a member of Loyola’s President’s Cabinet, she participates in universitywide decisions as a strong advocate for students and the staff that serves them.
Before joining Loyola, Horton spent 25 years at Boston College, where she held a number of key positions with ever-increasing leadership responsibilities, including serving as associate vice president and dean of students from 2008 to 2011.
Horton holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Boston College. She has taught both undergraduate and graduate students. She is also a trustee of her alma mater, Emmanuel College—which was a liberal arts college for women at the time she attended.
"Coming to Wellesley is like coming home,” said Horton, “not only to my home state of Massachusetts, but also to the kind of rigorous women’s educational environment that nurtured and challenged me during my college experience. I relate to the women of Wellesley and look forward to being a part of the community that fosters their growth and development."
About Wellesley College
Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to some 2,400 undergraduate students from 49 states and 58 countries.
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