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Keen Named Interim Dean of the College at Washington and Lee

Suzanne H. Keen, the Thomas Broadus Professor of English, has been appointed to a two-year term as interim dean of the College at Washington and Lee University, effective July 1.

Keen succeeds Hank Dobin, who served as dean of the College for seven years and will return to the faculty in the 2013-14 academic year following a sabbatical leave.

“I am delighted that Suzanne Keen has accepted this appointment,” said Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio. “Throughout her career at W&L, she has served with distinction on several of the University’s key committees, and both Interim Provost Bob Strong and I look forward to working with her and with the College faculty as we make this important transition and move ahead with new initiatives.”

A distinguished scholar of the English novel and a gifted teacher, Keen is chair of the English Department. She is a member of the Courses and Degrees Committee, which she will now chair, and is an elected faculty representative to the Board of Trustees. She has also served on the Advisory Committee, which reviews tenure and promotion cases. In 2008, she received the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia.

Keen, who has taught at W&L since 1995, holds an A.B. in English literature and studio art and an A.M. in creative writing from Brown University, and an A.M. and Ph.D. in English language and literature from Harvard University. She taught at Yale from 1990 to 1995. During the summers of 2003 through 2010, she served on the faculty of the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.

She is the author of “Empathy and the Novel” (2007), “Narrative Form” (2003), “Romances of the Archive in Contemporary British Fiction” (2001) and “Victorian Renovations of the Novel: Narrative Annexes and the Boundaries of Representation (1998). She has also published a book of poetry, “Milk Glass Mermaid” (2007).

“I appreciate the important contributions that Dean Dobin made during his tenure as dean,” said Ruscio, noting that Dobin helped guide the implementation of new general education requirements and the revamped Spring Term.

Dobin joined W&L as dean in August 2005 after serving nine years as associate dean of the college at Princeton University. He received a B.A. from Yale University in philosophy and psychology and a Ph.D. in English from Stanford University. He taught English at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he chaired the College Park Campus Senate 1993–1994. He joined Princeton as associate dean in 1996.

Under Dobin’s leadership at W&L, the College restructured the First-Year Writing Program; implemented minors; introduced the First-Year Seminar Program; undertook curricular initiatives in teacher education and dance; and expanded resources for faculty summer research. He worked on the Colonnade restoration project; reorganized the Office of the Dean of the College; and helped attract resources for College programs and facilities. Dobin will use the sabbatical in the 2012-13 academic year to re-start several scholarly and creative projects.

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Jeffery G. Hanna
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