James Hilton will return to U-M as dean of libraries

May 16, 2013
Contact: michigannews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—James Hilton, a professor and higher education administrator recognized nationally as an advocate for collaboration between academics and technology, today was appointed University of Michigan dean of libraries and university librarian.

Hilton also was appointed as a professor, with tenure, in the School of Information. His appointments were approved by the Board of Regents during a meeting on the UM-Dearborn campus.

“As dean of libraries and university librarian, James’ vision and leadership will be essential to our ability to address the changing nature of information acquisition and knowledge dissemination,” said U-M Provost Martha Pollack in recommending Hilton for appointment. “As a tenured professor in the School of Information, he will contribute to the study and design of information access and preservation.”

His appointments are for five years, starting Sept. 1.

He will succeed Paul Courant, who is stepping down after serving as dean of libraries and university librarian since 2007. Hilton also will be returning to the campus where he began his academic career in 1985.

“I am thrilled to be returning to U-M at a critical time in the evolution of the university library,” Hilton said. “Michigan is a leader in digital information and I am honored to join the team.”

Hilton comes to U-M from the University of Virginia, where, since 2006, he has been the vice president and chief information officer, and professor of psychology. At Virginia, he has been responsible for planning and coordinating academic and administrative information technology, voice communications and network operations across the university.

He remains engaged with the library community at the national level, currently leading the creation of the Digital Preservation Network, an archival backbone designed to catch and preserve discoveries for future generations. Together with 56 Association of American Universities-caliber institutions, DPN is building a preservation structure owned by and for universities to connect and leverage a variety of large-scale preservation and access initiatives such as HathiTrust, Texas Digital Library and the Academic Preservation Trust.

Hilton received his bachelor’s degree in 1981 from the University of Texas and master’s and doctoral degrees from Princeton University in 1983 and 1985, respectively. He began his professional career at U-M in 1985 as an assistant professor of psychology and a faculty associate in the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Institute for Social Research. He was promoted to associate professor in psychology, with tenure, in 1991 and to professor in 1999.

Administratively, from 1991 to 2000, Hilton served as undergraduate chair in the Department of Psychology. From 1999 to 2000, he served as the special assistant to the provost for media rights, and from 2001 to 2006, he served as associate provost for academic, information and instructional technology affairs. During the 2005-2006 academic year, he was interim university librarian.