Release Date: 
Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Dean Janice Gilliland earns Crain's recognition as a "Notable Woman in STEM"

Headshot of Janice Gilliland
Dean of STEM, Janice Gilliland, Ed.S.

Janice Gilliland, dean of the Henry Ford College (HFC) School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), is a “Crain’s Notable Women in STEM” 2019 honoree, as announced in the May 27 edition of Crain’s Detroit Business.

“I’m very touched by this,” said Gilliland, of Detroit. “I was honored to be nominated. My STEM team makes my work enjoyable and productive.”

Gilliland has been at HFC for 15 years. Her first role in 2004 was a mathematics instructor, teaching developmental math courses, intermediate and college algebra, pre-calculus, business calculus, and mathematics for elementary teachers. From 2004-05, she was director of HFC’s Pre-Education Program. Since 2009, she has been the Faculty Senate Representative for Mathematics.

In 2013, Gilliland was elected by her fellow math instructors to serve as HFC’s Associate Dean of Math and Science. When HFC underwent a College-wide reorganization in 2017, Gilliland was appointed the inaugural dean of the School of STEM.

“Janice earned each of her promotions through her leadership, her active advocacy for colleagues and students, and her vision for grade-school-through-college learning experiences. She has actively shared her knowledge and expertise, and has developed creative partnerships to support educational innovation and the growth of STEM careers,” said HFC President Russell Kavalhuna, who nominated Gilliland for this recognition.

A strong commitment to STEM

Throughout her career at HFC, Gilliland has shown a strong commitment to curricular and career innovation in STEM fields. She is dedicated to providing co-curricular opportunities, membership, and support for women in STEM through her role as dean. She has led the growth of HFC’s Pre-Engineering and Engineering Technology programs to more than 800 students per year. She has led the math faculty in developmental math transformation with Best Fit and co-requisite model curriculum redesigns. Early results of these endeavors show improved student outcomes.

Gilliland collaborated on and facilitated the pathway for Engineering Technology students from the Advanced Technology Academy (ATA) in Dearborn to complete their high school diploma and associate degree within five years at no cost to the students.

Gilliland facilitated an agreement with the Dearborn Public Schools, the only P-12 school district in Michigan to be affiliated with a community college, to develop a high school senior math course designed to strengthen preparation for college coursework.

“Janice Gilliland has been instrumental in providing opportunities for our high school students to participate in math, science, and engineering events at HFC. She creates opportunities to collaborate with the P-12 system, assists dual enrollment students, and supports creative partnerships. It is a privilege and a pleasure to work with Janice,” said Dr. Shannon Peterson, executive director of Student Achievement, Dearborn Public Schools.

She also partnered with Hamtramck High School to offer college-level math and engineering classes. In 2018, Gilliland created and hosted the Summer Research Opportunities Conference, providing a speaker and information about opportunities at four partner universities: the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Detroit Mercy, and Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.

Currently, Gilliland is serving as educational lead member on the HFC Integrated Energy Master Plan, a 20-year initiative that will increase energy efficiency by 65 percent and water efficiency by 45 percent, decrease carbon emissions by 62 percent, create new academic and community outreach programs, and provide a pathway for HFC to become a U.S. Center of Excellence for Energy Education.

Gilliland believes in getting students interested in STEM fields early as the key to developing tomorrow’s scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and teachers. She has supported faculty in developing summer STEM camps for middle school students, including a DNA Camp for Girls, a Forensics Camp, an Environmental Studies Camp, and an Astronomy Camp.

“Janice’s leadership style successfully builds unity, while celebrating diversity,” said Michael Nealon, HFC Vice President for Academic Affairs. “This engages educators, scholars, industry, and community partners in collaborative efforts to increase the presence of underrepresented students in the STEM fields.”

Lifelong educator

Gilliland has spent her entire career in education. Prior to coming to HFC, she was a math instructor at Wayne State, as well as a teacher at the International School of Dakar in Senegal and the American School of Antananarivo in Madagascar. She was also a math consultant for the Detroit Public Schools.

Gilliland earned a bachelor’s degree in math and a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. She earned her master’s in mathematics from Wayne State, where she also won the Teaching Assistant of the Year Award. She earned her educational specialist degree in educational leadership from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate in educational leadership at the University of Michigan-Flint (UM-Flint).

Gilliland also graduated from the inaugural class of the Michigan Community College Association (MCCA) leadership program called “Preparing for the Presidency” and the Chair Academy for Leadership in Mesa, AZ. She currently serves as the president of the Michigan Liberal Arts Deans (MLAD) and is a member of the Dearborn Rotary Foundation Board.

“Dean Gilliland helps others to identify and lead from their own strengths – discovering and giving the very best of themselves,” said Kavalhuna. “She makes herself available as a mentor and guide for both faculty and students who are seeking greater opportunities. She actively participates in the development of programs, curricula, and co-curricular activities to improve education and student success.”

Congratulations, Dean Gilliland!