I have worked in public and private higher education for 30 years, and I have served in administrative positions ranging from department chair to president. Major initiatives have included departmental and institutional reorganization, development of models for student intervention and success, academic program development, external collaborations, community engagement, fundraising, grant writing, leadership team development, and strategic planning. I have experience in the consultant field both as an often skeptical client and as a reviewer for regional and state accreditation agencies.
My academic scholarship is grounded in the history and theory of interpretation, the field broadly known as “hermeneutics.” I see a connection between this scholarly interest and my administrative and consulting work, since successful administration depends on nuanced interpretation of other people, historical contexts, and horizons that both limit and expand. I often refer to administration as “applied hermeneutics”: click here for more on applied hermeneutics and a video of a talk on “Leadership as Applied Hermeneutics” that I presented to adult learners at Centenary’s School of Professional Studies. I am also currently writing a book tentatively titled, Reading Philosophy and Practicing Leadership: How Ethical Hermeneutics can Improve the Health and Success of Organizations, whose abstract is available here.
Ph.D., English, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
M.A., English, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY (awarded during straight-through PhD program)
B.A., English, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN (Phi Beta Kappa)
PRESIDENT, HIRAM COLLEGE, HIRAM, OH , 2020-PRESENT.
PRESIDENT, CENTENARY UNIVERSITY, HACKETTSTOWN, NJ, 2016-2018.
VP FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS AND DEAN OF FACULTY, EMORY & HENRY COLLEGE, EMORY, VA, 2012–2016
PROFESSOR, ENGLISH DEPT. CHAIR, ASSOCIATE VICE-CHANCELLOR FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS, VICE PROVOST FOR UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION, STATE AUTHORIZATION COORDINATOR, APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY, BOONE, NC 2001-2010, 2011-2012
REGENTS FELLOW, SOUTH DAKOTA BOARD OF REGENTS, PIERRE, SD, December 2010-June 2011
PROVOST AND VP FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS, BLACK HILLS STATE UNIVERSITY, SPEARFISH, SD, July–December 2010
ASSISTANT, ASSOCIATE, FULL PROFESSOR, COORDINATOR OF GRADUATE STUDIES, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, 1989-2001
VISITING ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA, 1988-1989
Administrative Publications, Presentations, Grants, etc.
“Supporting First-Generation Students’ Spirit of Engagement” Opinion, Inside Higher Ed, November 6, 2020.
“Rebooting a COVID-19 Stalled Strategic Planning Process,” Planning for Higher Education, 48:3 (March-June 2020).
“Thinking Like a Designer in Uncertain Times,” Opinion, Inside Higher Ed, June 23, 2020,
“Predicting and Communicating Bad Financial News,” Opinion, Inside Higher Ed, April 17, 2020.
“ ‘Blooming Where You are Planted’ at Your Local College or University.” LinkedIn, October 23, 2019.
“Cash, Trends, and Denial: Early Warning Signs of Financial Trouble.” Opinion, Inside Higher Ed, May 23, 2019.
“Does it Really Cost That Much More? 5 Myths about Private Colleges,” Guest Column, NJ Star-Ledger, Nov. 6. 2017.
“An Unhealthy Bubble,” Opinion, Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 20, 2016.
“3 Key Ways to Consider Student Debt in N.J.” Guest Column, NJ Star-Ledger August 20, 2016.
“A Better Plan for Debt-Free College: Give Money Straight to Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education. Sept. 21, 2015 (online) and Sept 25, 2015 (print).
“English and English Education: Why We Should Talk to Our Colleagues in the Schools.” ADE Bulletin Winter-Spring 2007: 141-142
“How Can You Teach Composition Without Adjuncts or Tenure Lines?” Academe 92: 6 (Nov. – Dec. 2006): 50– 53. With Georgia Rhoades.
“Appalachian State University: Integrating the First-Year Educational Experience through the University College.” Organizing for Student Success: The University College Model (Monograph No. 53). Ed. Scott E. Evenbeck, et al. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, 2010. 63- 67. With Carter Hammett-McGarry.
“Reframing Planning Priorities Through Results-Based Strategic Design.” Society for College and University Planning annual conference, Cleveland, OH, July 2020. With Jeremy Houska. (Changed to a virtual presentation July 22, 2020, due to Covid-19.)
“Strategic Design: Redesigning the Strategic Planning Process in Higher Education.” With Jeremy Houska. Middle States Commission on Higher Education annual conference, Washington, DC Nov. 2018.
“Institutional Reorganization in Support of Liberal Education.” AAC&U annual meeting. With Carter Hammett-McGarry (ASU) Greg Young (Montana State U.) and John Smail (UNC-Charlotte). Washington, DC, January, 2008.
“Interdisciplinarity After IDS: Institutional Change at Appalachian.” Association of Integrative Studies annual meeting. With Jay Wentworth, Tom McLaughlin and Joan Woodworth. Tempe, AZ, September 2007.
“Beyond the Tenure Track: Teaching Communities and Academic-Student Affairs Partnerships.” Faculty Work and the New Academy: Emerging Challenges and Evolving Roles(AAC&U Network for Academic Renewal Conference). With Cindy Wallace and Georgia Rhoades. Chicago, IL, November, 2006.
“Leadership as Applied Hermeneutics.” Centenary University School of Professional Studies “Leather Apron” Series, Hackettstown, NJ, October 2016.
Chair, “Title IX Compliance and Best Practices,” Council of Independent Colleges Chief Academic Officers Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, November 2013.
“Interpretive Competence: Beyond Critical Thinking.” Appalachian State University Department of Interdisciplinary Studies Conference, January 2012
Chair, Roundtable on Administrative Issues in University Colleges. Association of Deans and Directors of University Colleges, Savannah, GA, February, 2009.
Chair for plenary session, “Teacher Education and the Undergraduate Major: Is There a Knowledge Base for English?” Association of Departments of English Seminar East, Knoxville, TN, June 2006.
“Faculty and Student Affairs Collaboration: Challenges and Why we Have to Overcome Them.” Appalachian Learning Communities Institute, Boone, NC, May 2006. With Cindy Wallace.
Presentations on general education and school-college collaboration to Avery County, NC, English Language Arts Vertical Alignment Meeting (Feb., 2006); Appalachian State Partnership Coordinating Council (April, 2006); Ashe County, NC, Curriculum Committee (May, 2006).
Respondent, “Stress Points: Issues and Directions for English Departments.” South Atlantic Modern Language Association, Roanoke, VA, Nov. 2004.
Administrative Grants Received
- (With Lisa Baldwin) Council of Independent Colleges, Intergenerational Connections (2018), $13,000.
- Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, funding for prototype technology-enhanced classroom (2015), $10,000.
- Smyth County Community Foundation, funds for support of Emory & Henry School of Health Sciences (2014), $5 million.
- Appalachian Regional Commission, renovation of former Smyth County Community Hospital (2014), $500,000. (I initiated this grant but played a secondary role in its development.)
- Mellon Foundation, “Enhancing the Emory & Henry College Core Curriculum for Cohesive Project-Based Liberal Education (2014),” $100,000.
- Virginia Tobacco Indemnification Commission #2657, “Emory & Henry College School of Health Sciences Support for Dean” (2013), $600,000 including 1-1 match from Town of Marion, VA, Smyth County, VA, and Smyth County Community Foundation.
- Lumina Foundation grant to measure cost/benefits or student support services (2007-2008), $15,000
- NEH Focus Grant to explore History-English combinations in freshman courses (2002-2003: co-authored with chairs of Interdisciplinary Studies and History), $25,000
- Morris County, NJ Workforce Roundtable (2017- 2018)
- Board of Directors, New Jersey Campus Compact (2017- 2018)
- Appointed by NJ Governor Christie to NJ Commission on Higher Education and Business, Sept. 2017 (Commission never met)
- Chair, Board of Directors, Colonial States Athletic Conference (2017-2018)
- Board of Directors, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey (2016-2018)
- External review of Green Mountain College for NEASC (fall, 2015)
- Board of Directors and Executive Board, The Crooked Road, Abingdon, VA (2014-2016)
- Deans’ Executive Council, Appalachian College Association (2013–2016
- Board of Directors, The Lincoln Theatre, Marion, VA (2013-2016; Vice President 2015-2016)
- University of North Carolina General Administration Accreditation Council (2008-2010)
Faculty Publications, Presentations, Grants, etc.
The Challenge of Coleridge: Ethics and Interpretation in Romanticism and Modern Philosophy. Literature and Philosophy Series. Series edited by Anthony J. Cascardi. University Park, PA: Penn State UP, 2001.
William Wordsworth and the Hermeneutics of Incarnation. Literature and Philosophy Series. Series edited by Anthony J. Cascardi. University Park, PA: Penn State UP, 1993.
Levinas and the Nineteenth Century: Ethics and Otherness from Romanticism Through Realism. With Donald R. Wehrs. Newark: U of Delaware P, 2009.
Chapters in Books:
“Introduction” (with Donald R. Wehrs). In David P. Haney and Donald R. Wehrs, eds., Emmanuel Levinas and the Nineteenth Century. Newark: U of Delaware P, 2009. 15-41.
“Coleridge’s “Historic Race”: Ethical and Political Otherness.” In David P. Haney and Donald R. Wehrs, eds., Emmanuel Levinas and the Nineteenth Century. Newark: U of Delaware P, 2009. 61-88.
“Wordsworth and Levinas: Making a Habit of the Sublime.” In Proximity: Emmanuel Levinas and the Eighteenth Century. Ed. Melvyn New, et al. Lubbock: Texas Tech UP, 2001. 355-91.
“Understanding and Ethics in Coleridge: Description, Evaluation, and Otherness.” The Ethics in Literature. Ed. Andrew Hatfield, et al. London: Macmillan and New York: St. Martin’s, 1999. 119-35.
“Nuptial Interruption: Marriage and Autobiography in Wordsworth’s ‘A Farewell’.” Autobiography and Post-Modernism. Ed. Leigh Gilmore, et al. Amherst, MA: U of Massachusetts P, 1994. 240-65.
“Coleridge and the Ethics of Particularity.” Afterimages: a Festschrift in Honor of Irving Massey. Ed. William Kumbier and Ann Colley. Buffalo and Toronto: Shufaloff Press, 1996. 58-73.
Journal Articles and Other Publications:
“Aesthetics and Ethics in Gadamer, Levinas, and Romanticism: Problems of Phronesis and Techne.” PMLA 114 (1999): 32-45.
“‘Rents and openings in the ideal world’: Eye and Ear in Wordsworth.” Studies in Romanticism 36 (1997): 173-99.
“Poetry as Super-Genre in Wordsworth: Presentation and Ethics.” European Romantic Review 5 (1994): 73-89.
“Incarnation and the Autobiographical Exit: Wordsworth’s The Prelude, Books IX-XIII (1805).” Studies in Romanticism 29 (1990): 523-54.
“Catachresis and the Romantic Will: The Imagination’s Usurpation in The Prelude, Book VI.” Style 23 (1989): 16-31.
“Viewing ‘the Viewless Wings of Poesy’: Gadamer, Keats and Historicity.” Clio 18 (1989): 103-22.
“The Emergence of the Autobiographical Figure in The Prelude, Book I.” Studies in Romanticism 20 (1981): 33-63.
Interview with poet Natasha Trethewey. Cold Mountain Review 33: 1 (Fall 2004), 19-34. Reprinted in Joan Wylie Hall, ed., Conversations with Natasha Trethewey (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2013, 18-32.
“Recent Work in Romanticism and Religion: From Witness to Critique.” Christianity and Literature 54: 2 (Winter 2005): 265-82. (Review Essay)
“Hermeneutics for Sophomores.” James O’Rourke, ed., Ode on a Grecian Urn: Hypercanonicity and Pedagogy (Romantic Circles Praxis Series, October 2003). http://www.rc.umd.edu/praxis/.
“Blindsided by Time: Paul de Man and Romanticism.” Southern Humanities Review 28 (1994): 169-78.
Teaching and Research Grants Received
- North Carolina Arts Council Grant to record CD of banjo player Eric Ellis (2008-2009), $7,250
- Auburn University College of Liberal Arts summer research grant (1997), $5000.
- Participation in Great Books Faculty Seminar, sponsored by National Endowment for the Humanities (1992), $1500
- Auburn University College of Liberal Arts summer research grant (1991), $3500
- National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend (1990), $3500.