Sian Leah Beilock was appointed as Barnard College’s eighth president on July 1, following a five-month search process after the unexpected departure of Debora Spar.
Spar, who was hired as Barnard’s president in 2008, left the college in March—despite being contracted through May 2018—to serve as president and CEO of Lincoln Center. During the search process, Chief Operating Officer Rob Goldberg served as interim president but has now returned to his original role with the appointment of Beilock.
During her time at Barnard, Spar was responsible for the creation of the Athena Leadership Center, the Milstein Teaching and Learning Center, which is scheduled to be completed by fall 2018, and the ongoing $400 million capital campaign called The Bold Standard.
The appointment of Beilock, who previously served as the University of Chicago’s executive vice provost and was the Stella M. Rowley Professor in the Division of the Social Sciences, fulfilled calls from the Barnard faculty for a president with a prominent academic background.
A cognitive scientist by training, Beilock’s research has focused on the impact of stress on individual performance, with a focus on how women and girls perform in math and science.
At UChicago Beilock was responsible for starting a program to help prepare graduates for careers in academia, government, and the nonprofit sector, among other fields. She also oversaw the school’s engagement with the surrounding community and several campus building projects.
At Barnard, Beilock will take on several unfinished projects, including the completion of the Milstein Teaching and Learning Center, the final phase of the capital campaign, implementation of new diversity standards, and divestment of college finances from companies that deny climate science.