Around the Quads

Lisa Hollibaugh, Dean of Academic Affairs

cropped Lisa H

Killian Young

You joined the College in 2016 from Barnard, where you were dean for international and global strategy. What drew you to this role?


I was intrigued by the opportunity to provide support for so many aspects of the academic life of undergraduates. I have the chance to work with faculty as they develop their curriculum, with advisors as they offer guidance and with students as they pursue opportunities beyond the classroom.

What’s your typical day?

Every day is a bit different because it depends on the questions, suggestions or concerns I hear about from faculty, administrators and students. I might work with a faculty member on a proposal for a new or changed major, or do research for a curricular committee, or talk with administrators and librarians about how to support undergraduate research programs or pull together materials and ideas that help to promote the goals of the Core Curriculum.

What’s the best part of your job?

The people. A university is all about the endeavors of individuals, especially the faculty and students, and I enjoy not only providing support for their efforts in any way that I can, but also thinking with others about the collective project of the University that unites us all. And I get to learn, constantly!

You’re very involved with My Columbia College Journey. Why do you think it’s important for students to take a holistic, rather than purely academic, view of their College experience?

Columbia offers so many opportunities — far too many for any of us to pursue all of them. So students need to make choices each semester: what courses to take, what clubs to engage with, what internships to accept, what kind of fun to have. The act of making choices like these is a big part of what makes college such an important process in the transition from childhood to adulthood, and My CC Journey gives students a framework and a vocabulary to help them think through these choices, to understand the value of what they’re achieving or developing in each competency. It encourages students to reflect and to make sense for themselves of their time at Columbia.

What’s one thing about yourself that would surprise readers?

What a hard question! Perhaps it would surprise some people to know that the dean of academic affairs wasn’t always a star student in college herself. I did well in the subjects that I loved, but I didn’t give my best efforts to courses that didn’t capture my interest. I had to learn that discipline over a more extended period of time, so I can confirm, from personal experience, that a person can continue to develop the Core Competencies long after graduation!