Anita Hill Named University Professor, 2015

Anita HIll

From Brandeis Now, April 15 2015

by: Bill Schaller

(Photo by Mike Lovett)

The Brandeis Board of Trustees unanimously voted to recognize Anita Hill, a senior advisor to the provost and professor of social policy, law, and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, with a promotion to University Professor at its March 26 [2015] meeting.

“Anita Hill is a national voice on the complex and often challenging issues of race, gender and workplace discrimination in America,” says President and Professor of Politics Frederick M. Lawrence. “Her legal and social scientific scholarship and her experience as a public servant have given her a perspective that she uses so effectively in the classroom, as a mentor to our students, and as a faculty colleague.”

Hill, who has been a member of the Brandeis faculty since 1998, is lauded by her students for her ability to bring both theory and practice into her classroom lectures on legal and societal issues of race and gender. Her views and insight on those issues, as well as on workplace discrimination, have made Hill an in-demand speaker nationally.

The title of University Professor is one of Brandeis’ most prestigious academic honors. It is awarded to faculty members of surpassing eminence whose work cuts across disciplinary boundaries, who have achieved exceptional scholarly or professional distinction within the academic community, and whose appointment will enhance the reputation and prestige of the university.

Hill earned her bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and her law degree from Yale University. She entered public service, first in the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education and then at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She returned to her native Oklahoma to teach law, first at Oral Roberts University and then as a tenured professor at the University of Oklahoma.

Her career took an unexpected turn when she testified during the hearings on Clarence Thomas’ nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991. That experience and her longstanding interest in civil rights and social policy led Hill to Brandeis and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, first as a visiting professor and then as a full professor.

Susan Lanser, professor of comparative literature, English and women’s and gender studies, says Hill’s in-depth understanding of policy and law has re-framed the conversation about race and gender.

“Anita Hill’s voice and vision have had an enormous impact on the field of women’s and gender studies,” says Lanser. “From her courageous testimony on sexual harassment to her analysis of the academic achievement gap to her deep thinking on the economics of ‘home,’ she has pioneered in articulating an agenda for a fully inclusive America—and a fully inclusive Brandeis. She continues to forge creative, clear-sighted, cutting-edge strategies for social change, which has made her both an intellectual force and an inspiration to young scholars and activists.”

In addition to her academic responsibilities, Hill has had a leading role in developing Brandeis’ strategic plan, chaired the university committees on diversity and communications, and has been instrumental in national searches for senior administrators and faculty positions in her leadership role in the provost’s office.

“Professor Hill’s abilities as a teacher, scholar, and public intellectual are matched by her commitment to furthering the mission of Brandeis,” says Provost Lisa M. Lynch. “She has provided critical leadership for several interdisciplinary academic initiatives and has worked tirelessly to help the university identify and focus on its strategic priorities.”