Pratt Institute has named higher education leader Donna Heiland as its next provost following a comprehensive national search process. Since July 1, 2021, Heiland has acted as interim provost, succeeding Kirk E. Pillow, and assumed the new role effective April 18, 2022. The provost is Pratt’s chief academic officer and reports directly to President Frances Bronet.
“I cannot tell you how excited I am to continue to work closely with Donna to shape the future of Pratt Institute as an international leader for creative thinkers and practicing professionals in art, design, architecture, liberal arts and sciences, and information studies,” Bronet said. “Her capacity to bring visions together cohesively and implement through profound participatory practice is invaluable.”
Heiland has an extensive knowledge of higher education and deep dedication to the excellence of the Institute. As provost, she will advance Pratt’s academic mission by supporting the success of its entire community of students and faculty across programs. In partnership with deans, chairs, and faculty, she will guide the development of Pratt’s curriculum to encompass traditional, hybrid, and online environments and recognize a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds.
“I am thrilled and honored to serve as Pratt’s next provost, and eager to work with President Bronet and the entire Pratt community to advance the work of the Institute,” Heiland said. “Pratt faculty, staff, and students are quite literally shaping the world we all want to live in, working on leading edges of their disciplines and finding interdisciplinary strategies for engaging the most interesting and pressing challenges of our time. I am energized by the prospect of what we can do together.”
Before serving as interim provost, Heiland joined Pratt as associate provost for academic affairs in 2016, and became vice provost just over a year later. In that position, she had broad responsibility for curriculum, learning outcomes assessment, and faculty development, all with the aim of ensuring that Pratt’s students had access to the strongest programs possible and that Pratt as a whole was a vibrant learning community.
She has also worked closely with Pratt’s Academic Senate and faculty union, and is a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. Alongside her work at Pratt, she serves as a board member of the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP). Her national higher education leadership includes serving as vice president of the Teagle Foundation and as director of fellowship programs at the American Council of Learned Societies.
For over three decades in higher education, Heiland has strengthened student learning and supported faculty research, civic engagement, and creative work. Prior to arriving at Pratt, Heiland was Emerson College’s vice president and special assistant to the president, where her work focused particularly on the college’s strategic priorities. For nearly a dozen years, she was a faculty member at Vassar College, earning tenure in the English Department.
Heiland received a PhD in English from Yale University and a BA from the University of Western Ontario (now Western University). Her accomplishments include presentations on literature and topics in higher education. She authored Gothic and Gender: An Introduction, co-edited Literary Study, Measurement, and the Sublime: Disciplinary Assessment, and has published essays, as well as peer-reviewed and invited articles, on higher education, teaching, philanthropy, and literature.