Prof. Emily Wiley to succeed Prof. Lee Skinner as next Associate Dean of the Faculty for the curriculum

As of July 1, 2019, Professor Emily Wiley will take on the role of Associate Dean of the Faculty for the curriculum previously held by Professor Lee Skinner.

As a Professor of Biology at the Keck Science Department since joining in 2002, Wiley has taught a wide range of introductory through advanced courses in areas related to molecular biology, including interdisciplinary team-taught courses in Biology-Chemistry, previously Biology-Chemistry-Physics, and non-major courses in biotechnology and genetic engineering.

As part of her involvement in Keck, Wiley leads a multi-institution consortium where hundreds of students collaborate each year in research with faculty to understand functions of genes and advance larger research priorities for various communities.

“I enjoy mentoring many students in my molecular research program focused on understanding how gene expression is controlled, and my students regularly co-author publications and present their research at conferences,” said Wiley. “I enjoy bringing that work into my classrooms for Keck students to engage.”

Over her 17 years at Keck, Wiley has also administratively served on most of the department’s internal committees, such as promotion/tenure, executive committee, faculty search committees, and as convener of biology. In these various roles, Wiley has promoted high impact student learning experiences such as early exposure to research, and teacher-scholar faculty models that facilitate integration of teaching and research. Wiley has brought aspects of research programs into courses so that more students can experience the excitement of making new discoveries and create authentic contribution to a larger research effort.

In her new role as Associate Dean of the Faculty at CMC, Wiley will primarily be involved in curricular matters and oversight. This will entail a rich array of activities: regular meetings with faculty on the Curriculum Committee; overseeing academic advising; and working on new faculty and student orientations, student and faculty fellowships, Diversity Committee, and 7C committees that impact faculty teaching support and professional development.

Find out more about Wiley and her new role as Associate Dean of the Faculty below.

AC: What motivated you to take on this position?

EW: One of the things I love most about my job as a faculty member is the creativity involved in presenting students with new opportunities to stretch and grow in different ways, to discover what they are interested in and capable of achieving. I see numerous exciting possibilities for this kind of work, now at a different level, in a position focused on many different aspects of college curriculum, and I hope to contribute to the college in these ways.  I also care deeply about the quality and success of natural science programs at our institutions. I thought my experience could help CMC implement a new science over the next few years, one that would also be synergistic with the Keck program. I see strong potential for bridging the programs in creative ways that would benefit both students and faculty with new opportunities, and I am energized by the challenge of trying to making that happen. I am also curious about about the organization and "inner workings" of an academic institution, something I will enjoy learning. I imagine it’s a lot like a cell - we’ll see!  At this stage in my career I welcome the set of new challenges and chance to grow new skill sets from this role, to gain different perspectives and insights into academia.

A: You have been a very integral part of the Keck Science Department as the biology convener for four years, a professor of biology, and a member of several department committees. How do you think your experience with Keck over the years will help you serve in your new role?

EW: This is a tough question, as I do not yet know exactly what this new role will demand, aside from some knowledge and experience as a scientist. Certainly through my committee work at Keck I have learned how important it is to hear the views of all stakeholders and I keep learning more about how to encourage different voices. I anticipate that this will be relevant to helping the college in a variety of curricular matters to capture and integrate variety of viewpoints.

A: What contributions do you hope to make as Associate Dean of the Faculty? What are you looking forward to accomplishing in this role?

EW: I’m strongly motivated by finding synergisms between seemingly unrelated individuals or groups. It’s a way of innovating that is immensely satisfying to me: bringing people together in new ways to collaborate and create things that benefit everyone involved. I hope that I can bring my experience to create new opportunities for CMC students and faculty to collaborate within and across disciplines to innovate in different ways or address issues related to global challenges. I hope to help build a broadly inclusive, forward-looking science program that integrates with the community, culture, and aspirations of CMC, and that bridges with the Pitzer/Scripps program to expand opportunities for all students through program collaboration. Besides helping to keep things running at the level they do at the college, in general I hope that I can help bring the different expertise and talents of the faculty together in new ways that they, and students, will find rewarding.

A: Is there anything else you would like to communicate to the general public?

EW: I consider it an honor to be asked to serve the college as an Associate Dean, especially following the footsteps of Lee Skinner who has accomplished so much for the college over her last six years in this position. Her work on issues such diversity and inclusion, writing, academic advising, and professional development have advanced the academic life here in critical ways. I will be happy if I can come even close to having the same kind of impact.