Hallmarks of leadership, engagement


Jill Nelson Granger, formerly associate dean of academic affairs and director of the Honors Program at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, is now serving as dean of Western Carolina University’s residential Honors College. Granger (it’s pronounced “Gran-jay”) is filling a vacancy created by the departure of Brian Railsback, founding dean of WCU’s Honors College, who stepped down at the end of the 2014-15 academic year to resume teaching, writing and researching as a faculty member in the Department of English.

Granger, a tenured, full professor of chemistry, brings to her new role the leadership characteristics needed to continue the upward trajectory of WCU’s Honors College as part of a skill set honed during her 22-year career at Sweet Briar, including 10 as an academic administrator, Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar said. “The Honors College, which provides a rigorous academic and social environment to more than 1,400 high-achieving students, is a signature academic unit and a significant point of pride for Western Carolina University,” Morrison-Shetlar said. “Dr. Granger has the expertise, the experience, the enthusiasm and the energy to lead the Honors College and to guide the continuing success of this pillar of distinction.”

Granger said the position at WCU was brought to her attention by a colleague who understood that the only reason she would consider leaving her home at Sweet Briar would be for a full-time role leading a strong Honors College. “From the start, I have been very impressed by the level of student participation, leadership and engagement in the Honors College at WCU,” she said. “This speaks, I think, to a strong foundation on which the program was built. Very clearly the Honors College has strong support at WCU. I’ve had great conversations with many program stakeholders, faculty, advisers, administrators and staff, who are all invested in the future of the program. I think this is a very exciting time at WCU.”