Lisa Williamson

Director of Grants and Sponsored Awards

Headshot Lisa Williamson
Office:225 Ponzio Campus Center
Email:Send a message...


Earned and Honorary Degrees

MS Management—Research Administration, Emmanuel College
BA English Literature, Knox College
Certification in Book and Magazine Publishing, New York University


My thirty-year career path is a good example of a liberal education at work, literally. After pursuing my bachelor’s in English literature at a small liberal arts college like Northland, and a certification in book and magazine publishing at New York University, I worked in the for-profit book publishing world. I moved from that hectic world in the Chicago area to merge my personal passion for the natural world with my English and editing skills to work for a series of nonprofit environmental organizations. Then, I stayed home to raise my children for two years, and I helped run a business. Finally, I ended up at Northland in the job of my dreams where I use my liberal education skills every day.

As the director of sponsored awards, I oversee approximately thirty faculty research and institutional outreach grant and contract proposal developments a year, and administrate approximately fifty grants and contracts a year. My workplace skills came from being exposed as an undergraduate to a variety of ways of seeing the world, which gave me the knowledge and confidence to change from one field to another, and to analyze, address, and communicate effectively about day-to-day workplace tasks and challenges.

Why Northland?

People at Northland care. They care about the world, the Ashland community, the campus community, and about each other. And I’m not just talking about the students. The students care for sure, but so do the faculty and staff. Yes, we get paid for what we do, but our jobs mean so much more to us than what we garner in wages.

Student Involvement

One tenth of Northland students are involved in sponsored projects or programs. They are busy in the field, working with faculty, staff, and governmental or non-governmental organizations as research assistants and interns. While I don’t spend time with students in the field, occasionally they come to my office to check their hiring status, sort out a payroll issue, or sign a reimbursement form. I like hearing about the experiences I helped to make happen, whether it is a student’s excitement about being a coauthor on a published academic paper, using scuba gear to perform underwater research, or play percussion as part of a faculty member’s CD production.


My favorite activity is relaxing at home with my husband and our four teenagers. Each child is so unique. It’s entertaining (and sometimes stressful) to hear how they are learning to handle their young lives. We laugh a lot and enjoy watching movies together, even though it takes us a long time to agree on one.

My second favorite activity is aerobic exercise. I love the feel of using my own power to move me along a course, and it’s easy for me and my husband to do this right out our front door in Ashland. We can walk to the lake, hike in the Penokees just south of town, swim in Bayfield, ski on the hospital trails, and bike or run on the corridor. My favorite hobby is gardening. I was certified as a master gardener years ago. I hope to brush up on those skills when life slows down.