Anthony Tillman to join university as associate provost

Will coordinate programs that ensure quality experience for low-income, first-generation students

Anthony Tillman

Anthony Tillman, assistant provost at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, has been appointed an associate provost at Washington University in St. Louis, announced Provost Holden Thorp, PhD.

When Tillman joins Washington University in summer 2016, he will coordinate university programs aimed at ensuring the success of low-income and first-generation students at Washington University.

Tillman’s initial focus will be to implement the recommendations of an advisory group on socioeconomic diversity that Thorp convened last year. Among the group’s goals was to identify barriers low-income, first-generation students face on campus.

The advisory group, led by Harvey R. Fields Jr., PhD, assistant director for academic programs at Cornerstone, the Center for Advanced Learning, released a report that recommends ways the university can better serve and support the university’s increasing number of low-income and first-generation students.

“With more than 30 years in higher education, much of it with an emphasis on improving the student experience, particularly underrepresented students, Tony brings a wealth of knowledge and ideas to our campus,” Thorp said.

“While we are committed to the success of every student at Washington University, we want to be sure the university provides the appropriate support so that each admitted student, whether low income, first generation or not, will have a high-quality, engaging, full and fulfilling undergraduate experience,” Thorp said. “I look forward to working with Tony to help ensure that happens.”

Tillman joined SMU in 2007 as its first director of retention and strategic initiatives with overall responsibility for developing a strategic approach to retention of undergraduate and graduate students.

In 2008, he was named SMU’s assistant provost and his responsibilities expanded to include supporting a range of strategic initiatives for the Office of the Provost.

Focused on student success

Among his accomplishments at SMU, Tillman has created an academic support initiative to enhance student success for at-risk first-year students; implemented measures that increased student retention from 88.8 percent in 2007 to 90.3 percent in 2014 and increased the graduation rate from 74.5 percent in 2008 to 78.9 percent in 2015; coordinated the establishment of a STEM pipeline for high-performing minority students to prepare them for STEM careers; and conducted a campus climate study examining minority student experiences.

His committee service at SMU includes chairing the President’s Commission on the Status of Racial Minorities and serving on the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Minority Enrollment and the President’s Commission on Substance Abuse Prevention.

“I look forward to the opportunity to join Holden and many others in the development of programs and services that will contribute to the ongoing success of students at Washington University,” Tillman said.

“More importantly, as an individual from a first-generation college and low-income background, I am especially cognizant of the challenges and am familiar with the experiences associated with this cohort of students and their families,” Tillman added.

“The success of these students translates into the creation of social capital networks that will extend beyond their undergraduate days at Washington University.”

Prior to his appointment with SMU, Tillman served six years as associate director of The College Board’s Educational Opportunity Center. The center, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, focuses on providing postsecondary educational services and programs to low-income and first-generation individuals.

From 1980 to 2000, Tillman worked in student affairs at such institutions as Montclair State University, Drew University and Dartmouth College, where he was associate dean of First Year Students and director of its Intensive Academic Support Program.

A native of New Jersey, Tillman earned a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology in 1978 and a master’s degree in counseling and personnel services in 1980, both from Purdue University. He is completing the requirements for his doctoral degree in higher education from the University of Alabama.

Tillman is married to Lori S. White, PhD, vice chancellor for students at Washington University.

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