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by Elizabeth Latt | Posted on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 — 10:00 AM
“Our university and the College of Arts and Science are better and stronger because of Carolyn’s academic leadership,” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said. “She is an amazing colleague and university citizen, and I am deeply appreciative of her transformative work that has distinguished Vanderbilt in numerous ways. I wish her the best in this next step in her journey.”
“It has been an honor and a privilege, a challenge and a joy, to serve as Arts and Science dean at Vanderbilt,” Dever said. “I am tremendously proud of what we have accomplished, and so grateful to my talented colleagues for their dedicated partnership over many years. Vanderbilt will always be a home for me and for my family.”
Zeppos appointed John M. Sloop, senior associate dean for faculty and professor of communication studies, as interim dean beginning July 1, 2014.
Dever, an expert on Victorian literature and gender studies, became interim dean of the College of Arts and Science on July 1, 2008, and was appointed dean in December 2008. Previously, she served as executive dean of Arts and Science with responsibilities for faculty actions and research, and also as associate dean for graduate education.
“Carolyn Dever has had a major influence on each of the impressive advances in the College of Arts and Science since she became dean in 2008,” said Provost Richard McCarty, whom she succeeded as dean. “She has become a dear friend and a valued colleague in the decade we have worked together and I will miss her greatly. I wish Carolyn, Paul and Noah continued great success as they embark on new adventures at Dartmouth.”
Also making the move to Hanover, N.H., are Dever’s spouse, Paul Young, associate professor of English and former director of film studies, and their son Noah, a preschooler at the Susan Gray School. Young will become associate professor of film and media studies at Dartmouth.
As dean of Vanderbilt’s largest school with nearly 4,200 students, Dever has accomplished much. She reorganized pre-major advising with a dedicated advising office in the Ingram Commons; recruited a director and associated faculty for the Center for Medicine, Health and Society; secured a $1.475 million grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation for support of innovations in undergraduate education at Vanderbilt and three partner institutions; directed the Vanderbilt portion of a major multi-year grant to Meharry Medical College from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for training of minority Ph.D.s in health policy; and strengthened Vanderbilt’s connections to its partners in Sao Paulo, Belfast and Melbourne.
Under Dever’s leadership, the number of applicants to the college has risen from 14,596 in 2009 to 22,835 in 2013. External awards for support of faculty research have increased from $37.3 million to $47.9 million. Giving to the college has increased from $10.4 million to $15.8 million, resulting in more than 40 new endowed chairs and 118 new scholarship funds.
Since joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 2000, Dever has taught classes in both English and Women’s and Gender Studies. She directed graduate studies in English, co-directed two faculty fellows programs at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities and served as acting director of the Program in Women’s and Gender Studies.
Dever received her undergraduate degree from Boston College in 1988. She was awarded the Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and completed the Ph.D. in English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University in 1993.
Dever began her career at New York University as a member of the English department, where her teaching and research focused on Victorian literature and studies of gender. She was awarded NYU’s “Golden Dozen” award for undergraduate teaching, was a three-time director of the NYU Summer in London Program, and also directed graduate studies in English.
She is the author of two books, Death and the Mother From Dickens to Freud: Victorian Fiction and the Anxiety of Origin (Cambridge, 1998) and Skeptical Feminism: Activist Theory, Activist Practice (Minnesota, 2004), and co-editor of The Literary Channel: The Inter-National Invention of the Novel (Princeton, 2002) and the Cambridge Companion to Anthony Trollope (Cambridge, 2010).
Dever has several active research projects underway. She travels to London frequently for research at the British Library on the manuscript diaries of the late-Victorian poet and playwright “Michael Field”—the pseudonym for a collaborative pair of women writers, Katharine Bradley and Edith Cooper. Dever’s research on Michael Field has led to further research on poetry and the visual arts in late-Victorian Britain and will culminate in a book about intimacy, domesticity and art in Britain at the turn of the 20th century. Dever directs the research of a number of Vanderbilt graduate students on topics relating to Victorian literature and culture.
Elizabeth Latt, (615) 322-NEWS
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