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Donna Heiland named Vice President and Special Assistant

Andy Tiedemann
April 05, 2012

Emerson College President Lee Pelton announced today that Donna Heiland has been named Vice President and Special Assistant. Currently Vice President and Secretary to the Board of the Teagle Foundation, Heiland will begin her Emerson career on July 23, 2012.

“Donna will assist me in carrying out my role and responsibilities as President, working collaboratively with various College offices to develop and strengthen external relations as well as managing special projects,” President Pelton said. “I am very pleased that we have been able to attract a candidate of Donna’s breadth of interest and standing, in and outside the academy, to our commonwealth of learning,” he added.

At the Teagle Foundation, where she has been for the past eight years, Heiland oversaw day-to-day operations of the Foundation’s New York headquarters, working with the President on strategy, program development and implementation, and grant making. The Teagle Foundation is an influential national voice and a catalyst for change in higher education, working to improve the undergraduate student experience in the arts and sciences by mobilizing intellectual and financial resources on behalf of excellence in learning, teaching, and research. Teagle awards about $6 million in grants each year.

Donna Heiland

Heiland is also currently serving as a consulting senior policy advisor on higher education to the Under Secretary at the Department of Education.

“I’m wonderfully energized by the prospect of my move to Emerson,” Heiland said. “I am inspired by the College's mission––its commitment to communications, to the performing arts, and to the values of the liberal arts, all of which are passions for me,” she said. “I’m looking forward to getting to campus this summer, and to working closely with President Pelton and the rest of the Emerson community to keep the college strong and move it forward.”

From 1999 until 2004, she was the Director of Fellowship Programs at the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) where she oversaw general program development, budgets, and all stages of ACLS fellowship programs. ACLS is the preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences. She also served as an Adjunct Associate Professor of English at Barnard College in 2003.

Her academic career began at Vassar College (1988-1999), where Heiland served as Assistant and Associate Professor of English. She served on major committees at the college and was very active in faculty governance. For three years while at Vassar, she served as Secretary of the Faculty.

Heiland is the author of numerous scholarly publications, including Gothic and Gender: An introduction (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004). Her most recent publication is a volume she co-edited with Laura J. Rosenthal, and with the assistance of Cheryl Ching: Literary Study, Measurement, and the Sublime:  Disciplinary Assessment (Teagle Foundation, 2011). Heiland’s essay “Approaching the Ineffable: Flow, Sublimity, and Student Learning” is included in the volume.

She is a recognized leader in higher education, who is frequently sought to speak and write on a variety of topics, including liberal learning, working with foundations and the humanities. She has received many awards, fellowships, and honors. Heiland holds a BA (Honors) in English from the University of Western Ontario and a PhD in English from Yale University.

David Rosen, who stepped down from his position as Special Assistant to the President on December 31, 2011, was Heiland’s predecessor at Emerson.

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