Elizabeth Spiller, the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida State University, has been named dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech. She will begin her new position on July 1.

Spiller will assume leadership of the college from Joan Hirt, who has been serving as interim dean of the college since January

“Elizabeth Spiller is a strong academic leader, bringing with her a unique disciplinary background which she leverages in a very positive way in service of vision, innovation, and collaboration," said Senior Vice President and Provost Mark McNamee in making the announcement. "She is a highly respected scholar and has impressive experience in leadership roles within a very diverse college of arts and sciences, which will serve Virginia Tech and the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences very well.

"This search produced a very strong pool of candidates, and she clearly emerged as the leading candidate among an impressive array of department and college leaders with a wide range of backgrounds," McNamee continued. "She is joining a passionate and engaged team of administrators, faculty, staff, and students, and I look forward to working with her to further enhance the strategic goals of the college.”

“I am honored and thrilled to be joining the Virginia Tech community,” said Spiller. “I have been deeply impressed by the dedication and talent that I have seen across the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. It is clearly a dynamic and exciting place, and I look forward to working to support the college as it contributes to making Virginia Tech such an outstanding institution.”

Before she was associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida State University, Spiller served as director of the History of Text Technologies Program and associate chair of the Department of English, where she has also been a faculty member since 2007. In addition, she provided leadership to the Extraordinary Achievements Faculty Award Committee, charged by the provost and the vice president for faculty advancement and development at Florida State to enhance recognition systems for faculty achievements receiving significant national recognition. 

McNamee said Spiller is particularly noted in her leadership roles for achieving positive results in solving complex organizational challenges by facilitating collaborative group approaches to communication and problem solving.

Before joining the faculty at Florida State, she held faculty appointments at the University of North Texas and Texas Christian University, where she also served as director of graduate studies.

Spiller is the author of two books, Reading and the History of Race in the Renaissance  (Cambridge, 2011) and Science, Reading, and Renaissance Literature (Cambridge, 2004). She has published widely on the history of science in the Renaissance, and she has been recognized with major fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Fulbright Foundation. 

A past editor of the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, she has also held a faculty appointment at Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English.

Spiller received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College in English Literature, and Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. degree, both in English and American Literature and Language, from Harvard University.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech includes programs in the arts, humanities, social and human sciences, and education. The college seeks to illuminate human experience and expression by creating works of lasting scholarly, cultural, and aesthetic value; empower individuals to engage critically with the complexities of a diverse, global society; and foster the inquiry, innovation, and growth that produce individual and social transformation.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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