Smith College President Kathleen McCartney has appointed Donna E. Lisker, Ph.D., associate vice provost for undergraduate education at Duke University, as dean of the college and vice president for campus life at Smith, effective July 14.
Lisker succeeds Maureen A. Mahoney, who is retiring from Smith after serving in that role since 1996.
“I am very pleased to be bringing Donna Lisker to Smith,” McCartney said. “Her experience in bridging the curricular and co-curricular aspects of undergraduate life, as well as her commitment to the education and advancement of women, make her a terrific match for Smith.”
Lisker began her work at Duke in 1999 as director of its women’s center. She served on the steering committee of the Duke University Women’s Initiative, an intensive research project on the status of women at the university, and was tapped to found and lead one of its major outcomes, a four-year leadership program for undergraduate women known as the Baldwin Scholars.
As an associate vice provost, Lisker oversaw all aspects of the undergraduate experience at Duke, integrating academics, residential life, co-curricular and athletic activities, admissions, financial aid, civic engagement and global education.
In 2013, Lisker served a term appointment as interim vice provost in charge of the launch of Duke Kunshan University, a partnership of Duke and Wuhan universities, located in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province, China.
“I am delighted to be joining the remarkable community and strong leadership team at Smith College,” Lisker said. “It’s an honor and privilege to continue my work on women’s leadership and education at such a distinguished institution.”
At Smith, the dean of the college and vice president for campus life oversees all aspects of student life from orientation to graduation. Reporting to the dean are the offices of the class deans; dean of students; student affairs and residential life; international study; the Ada Comstock Scholars Program; the registrar’s office; health, wellness and counseling services; career development; religious and spiritual life; and athletics.
Lisker majored in English and mathematics at Williams College and holds a doctorate in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At Duke, she has taught courses in gender and sports, and women’s studies.
Founded in 1871, Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction and links the power of the liberal arts to excellence in research and scholarship, developing leaders for society’s challenges. The rigorous academic program—anchored in the sciences, the humanities and the arts—is demanding yet flexible, with more than a thousand course offerings in more than 50 areas of study. A host of unique study abroad programs, the first engineering program offered at a women’s college and a growing roster of “concentrations,” which allow students to organize unique combinations of intellectual and practical experiences, are signature offerings of the college. The largest women’s liberal arts college in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,600 students from nearly every state and 62 other countries.