A longtime professor known for her dedication to undergraduate student success is poised to become the University of Michigan’s inaugural vice provost for undergraduate education.
Angela D. Dillard, the Richard A. Meisler Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and in the Residential College, and chair of the Department of History in LSA, has been appointed to the new role and will begin Jan. 1.
Her five-year appointment was authorized by Laurie McCauley, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and will be reported to the Board of Regents in December.
McCauley announced the appointment at a Nov. 27 State of the University event for invited university leaders.
The vice provost for undergraduate education will be responsible for leading, overseeing and advancing continual improvements in education, including accreditation, for more than 32,000 undergraduate students in partnership with schools and colleges that enroll undergraduate students.
Dillard has distinguished herself as an incisive scholar, innovative leader and advocate for colleagues and students, McCauley said.
“Having excelled in a multitude of capacities on campus, she brings a combination of deep institutional knowledge and a passion for student success to this crucial new role,” she said. “Professor Dillard’s appointment is a milestone in the university’s commitment to delivering a rich, inclusive and transformative undergraduate experience for every student.”
Dillard specializes in American and African American intellectual history, particularly around issues of race, religion and politics, and has a special interest in urban studies.
“I could not be more enthusiastic about meeting the challenges of this role and working collaboratively with fellow faculty members, advisers, deans and associate deans, and of course our students,” Dillard said.
“Making sure that all students in the undergraduate-serving schools and colleges are able to take full advantage of everything a Michigan education has to offer is the number one goal.”
Dillard began her academic career as a visiting lecturer at James Madison College at Michigan State University in 1995. She was an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota from 1995-97, and then served at New York University as an assistant professor from 1997-2002 and associate professor from 2002-06.
Dillard joined U-M as an associate professor with tenure in 2006. She was promoted to professor in 2009, and was appointed the Richard A. Meisler (formerly Earl Lewis) Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and in the Residential College in 2014.
Dillard, who also is a professor of history, of Afroamerican and African studies and in the Residential College, has chaired the Department of History since 2021. She was the associate dean for undergraduate education in LSA from 2017-19.
Two hallmarks of Dillard’s career have been her interdisciplinary approach to teaching and a strong commitment to recruiting and supporting transfer students, especially those from community colleges. She was the co-principal investigator for LSA’s Transfer Bridges to the Humanities grant funded by the Mellon Foundation.
In 2020-21, Dillard served as chair of the Academic Advisory Committee for the Democracy and Debate Theme Semester, which supported courses and programming in nearly every school and college across campus and launched a unique partnership between the U-M Museum of Art and the Ann Arbor City Clerk’s office to promote student voting.
Dillard serves on the Bentley Historical Library’s executive committee, the advisory board for the Mellon Foundation’s College and Beyond II study, the steering committee for U-M’s Humanities Collaboratory and the national steering committee for the Our Compelling Interest Series. She was part of the design team for U-M’s Inclusive History Project and is a past member of the state of Michigan’s Freedom Trail Commission.
In addition, Dillard is the co-principal investigator on the Michigan-Mellon Project on the Egalitarian Metropolis, a collaborative initiative that explores contemporary issues on urbanism and egalitarianism. She is also a member of the faculty team that leads the Detroit River Story Lab, which cultivates partnerships to elevate historically nuanced and contextually aware stories that center the Detroit River in the lives and struggles of its adjacent communities.
Dillard received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1988 from Michigan State University and a Master of Arts degree in 1991 from the New School for Social Research. She earned a second Master of Arts degree in 1992 and a doctoral degree in 1995 from U-M.