Mills College President Elizabeth L. Hillman
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President of Mills College
Elizabeth L. Hillman began her tenure at the College on July 1, 2016.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Hillman’s university degrees span the arts and sciences, engineering and the law. She received her bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Duke University in 1989 and an MA in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994, and went on to receive a JD from Yale Law School in 2000 and a PhD in history with a focus on women’s history from Yale University in 2001.
Hillman brings to Mills extensive experience in higher education administration and instruction and a distinguished background working on key women and gender issues. She is the former provost and academic dean at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she also served as the chief academic officer.
Prior to her position at Hastings, Hillman served as professor of law and director of faculty development at Rutgers University School of Law and taught at Yale University and the US Air Force Academy. She also was an officer in the US Air Force, where she served as a space operations officer and orbital analyst. She has received numerous awards and honors for her teaching, scholarly excellence, and service.
Hillman has had a longstanding academic interest in women’s education, and expertise in military gender issues that has brought her national and international recognition. Her master’s thesis focused on the design of 1970s women’s uniforms in the national service academies. Her PhD dissertation addressed assumptions about race, gender, and sexuality by the US armed forces in the prosecution of military crimes.
Hillman has conducted extensive research on the history of sexual violence in military organizations and culture, which led to her appointment, 2013–14, to the Response Systems to the Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel (RSP), an independent panel chartered by the US Congress to study and make recommendations about sexual assault in the US military. She went on to chair the RSP’s Comparative Systems Subcommittee, leading the preparation and drafting of a comprehensive report recommending significant changes to improve military responses to sexual assault. She has testified as an expert witness on several occasions before Congressional committees and other venues.
Hillman has authored books, book chapters, and journal articles, and was the principal researcher and author of a comparative study of national military responses to sexual assault, commissioned by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. She is a director and past president of the National Institute of Military Justice (NIMJ), a nonprofit dedicated to promoting fairness in and public understanding of military justice worldwide, and sits on the editorial boards of Gender and Conflict and Critical Military Studies.
At Hastings, Hillman demonstrated expertise in curricular reform, enrollment management, financial aid, student services, strategic planning, faculty governance, board relations, development, and technology. She led initiatives to improve operations and provide outreach and community-building programs for prospective and current students to improve retention efforts. She oversaw an annual budget of approximately $60 million.
With a passion for women-centered education and the liberal arts, Hillman has grit, courage, resolve, and creativity, and an openness and excitement to help Mills envision and define its future. She sees a liberal arts education as creating the potential for growth, understanding, and progress and has an innate understanding of how to unite passionate people around a mission. Her choices in her educational, scholarship, advocacy, and professional endeavors have uniquely prepared her for this leadership position at Mills.