Creighton, Joanne

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Joanne V. Creighton, known as a strategic planner, consensus-builder, and champion of the liberal arts and of women’s education, Joanne V. Creighton has played leadership roles at large public universities and at leading liberal arts colleges.  President Emeritus and Professor of English at Mount Holyoke, she is currently serving a three -year appointment as a Five Colleges Fortieth Anniversary Professor, teaching English literature at UMASS Amherst.

From January 1996 to July 2010, Joanne Creighton served as President of Mount Holyoke where she led two comprehensive and highly consultative planning processes that culminated in unanimous faculty and Board of Trustees endorsements. Those plans were extraordinarily successful in engendering the renewed strength, vitality, and confidence of the College. All of the major benchmarks and goals were met or exceeded: fiscal equilibrium was achieved and budgets were balanced with over $450 million raised through two comprehensive campaigns resulting in the dramatic growth of the endowment to an all-time high of $660 million.

From August 2011 through July 2013 she served as Interim President of Haverford College where, she is widely credited with stabilizing and recentering the College during a turbulent transition.  Working collaboratively with her successor, Daniel Weiss, she led the first year of a two-year strategic planning process,  centered on vitalizing the liberal arts curriculum and linking academic, facilities, financial, and campaign planning.

Joanne Creighton came to Mount Holyoke from Wesleyan University where she was Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost (1990-94) and Interim President from 1994-95.  While at Wesleyan University, she led the faculty in developing a five-year academic plan, the centerpiece of the University Plan, prior to her stepping into the role as Interim President.  So too did she work effectively with the faculty to develop an academic plan at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as Dean of Arts and Sciences from 1980-85. She began her administrative career at Wayne State University as Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities in the early 1980s.

The author of four books of literary criticism, Her writings have appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Chronicle of Higher Education, USA Today, The Hartford Courant, among many other publications. Recent publications include “That Vision Thing,” Presidential Perspectives (2011-12 Series, VI, 1-4) and the forthcoming essay, “The President, The Board, and the Faculty: Orchestrating Shared Governance,” in Education for an Uncertain World, ed. Daniel H. Weiss and Rebecca Chopp, Baltimore: John Hopkins Press.

In 2003 Ms. Creighton co-founded Women’s Education Worldwide which brings together the presidents and chief academic officers of women’s colleges and universities from around the world and other leaders in women’s education.   Ms. Creighton is the past chair of the Women’s College Coalition and past president of Five Colleges, Incorporated. Dr. Creighton has addressed women’s business leadership groups, such as the Womensphere Global Leadership Summit in New York in 2008, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong in January 2010.

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