“I believe in the mission of the institutions of higher education to which I commit.”
Abigail Claire Tilton
Abigail Tilton takes her commitment to empowering other women and developing their leadership abilities seriously. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work in 1991 from the University of North Texas, and immediately went on to obtain her Master’s in Social Work in 1992 at the University of Texas. While pursuing her master’s degree, Abigail was employed as a Social Worker at HCA-Lewisville Memorial Hospital. After completing her degree, she became the program manager for the Skilled Nursing Unit. From there, Abigail served as the Founding Executive Director of AIDS Services in North Texas, where she had the opportunity to use her education and previous experiences to provide a holistic range of support services to improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
It was after six years of working for the AIDS Services that Abigail’s life took her down a different path: she took a teaching fellowship at the University of North Texas while pursuing a doctoral degree in sociology. It was during this time that she decided to pursue a career in academia at Texas Woman’s University. Steadily, she moved up the ranks from adjunct, assistant, and to associate professor.She was able to utilize her previous administrative experience and became the Social Work Program Director, was later promoted to Associate Dean and then received her latest appointment as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences . With a fellow colleague, Abigail introduced the TWU-Women in Higher Education committee to the greater Texas Woman’s community, in order to create a more open dialogue for women to discuss leadership skills, as well as to network with other women in higher education. It was here that Abigail also had a hand in revising the university’s core curriculum to better cater to its mission, contributed to over a dozen technical reports, and was awarded several grants to go towards the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program.
In her current position as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Texas Woman’s University, Abigail prioritizes improving the range of academic programs she oversees and how to best serve the students to make the most of their time at there. Even with her career as demanding as ever, she hasn’t slowed down at all. Abigail continues to strive for excellence. In addition to her administrative duties, she takes an active role in collaborating with important community partners, funding scholarships and other learning opportunities, and taking an active role in the campus Title IX policy.
While her list of accomplishments is lengthy and widespread, there are a number that speak to her compassionate nature. She made a point to make Texas Woman’s University a place of diversity and inclusion. As a former single, struggling mother herself, Abigail understands from firsthand experience the challenges the very women enrolled in the university were facing. Although it felt selfish at the time to focus on herself rather than attending field trips and devoting that time to her children, she now looks back on the experience and hopes that they were able to gain discipline, grit, and resilience. This only further motivates her to take on the task of giving more women in similar positions the opportunity to improve not only their lives, but the lives of their children, too.