NYU President John Sexton today announced the appointment of Susanne Wofford, a scholar of English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as dean of the Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Wofford, who emerged from a nation-wide search, will start as Gallatin’s dean effective July 1, 2007. She will also hold an associated appointment with the Department of English in NYU’s Faculty of Arts and Science.

Dean Wofford
Dean Wofford

NYU President John Sexton today announced the appointment of Susanne Wofford, a scholar of English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as dean of the Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Wofford, who emerged from a nation-wide search, will start as Gallatin’s dean effective July 1, 2007. She will also hold an associated appointment with the Department of English in NYU’s Faculty of Arts and Science.

NYU’s Gallatin School is a small, innovative college within New York University that gives students the opportunity to develop programs of study tailored to their needs and ambitions by taking classes in the various schools of NYU, to engage in self-directed education as a starting point for their careers, and to bridge the gap between the classroom and the New York City community through research, theory, field projects, and partnerships with local organizations.

NYU President John Sexton said, “No school better weaves together the threads of intellectual inquiry at this research university than Gallatin. The school’s approach to learning - that personal intellectual interests can encompass diverse disciplines and yet be merged into a cohesive, intriguing, challenging, and deeply meaningful education - requires a dean with both educational imagination and strong scholarly grounding. This is why Susanne Wofford seized the attention of the search committee, Provost David McLaughlin, and myself.

“In announcing her appointment, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the members of the search committee, so ably led by Professor Laura Slatkin of the Gallatin School, for their extraordinary dedication and labor over the past 18 months. They have brought us an exceptional individual as Gallatin dean: Susanne Wofford’s appointment is a testament to their diligence, good judgment, and high standards.

“I also want to thank my friend and colleague Ali Mirsepassi. He has served as interim dean for the past two years, and during that time he has taken on the dean’s responsibilities with great devotion, enormous skill, and good cheer, and he has been a real contributor both at Gallatin and on a University-wide basis. We owe him a debt of gratitude.

“I ask the entire University community to join me in congratulating Susanne Wofford on her appointment and in welcoming her to NYU.”

NYU Provost David McLaughlin said, “Susanne Wofford comes to us with an outstanding reputation as a scholar of English and comparative literature, but also as someone who has impressed us here at NYU with her energy, her abundance of ideas, her thoughtfulness, her record of achievements, and her personal warmth. We are all delighted she will be our new Gallatin dean.”

Professor Laura Slatkin, chair of the search committee, said, “Susanne Wofford’s leadership, intellectual vitality, and distinguished research and teaching record will confirm and strengthen Gallatin’s singular mission; on behalf of the Gallatin community, I’m delighted to join President Sexton and Provost McLaughlin in welcoming her to NYU.”

In addition to the chair of the Gallatin Dean Search Committee, Professor Slatkin, the other members were:

  • Professor Richard Arum, Steinhardt/Faculty of Arts and Science
  • Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of the Tisch School of the Arts and associate provost for the arts
  • Jules Coleman, special advisor to the president
  • Professor Lisa Goldfarb, Gallatin
  • Professor Dale Jamieson, Steinhardt/Faculty of Arts and Science
  • Debra LaMorte, sr. vice president for University Development and Alumni Relations, ex officio
  • Professor Brad Lewis, Gallatin
  • Niki Parisier, administrator, Gallatin
  • Professor Laurin Raiken, Gallatin
  • Jane Tylus, vice provost for academic affairs, ex officio
  • Diane Yu, chief of staff and deputy to the president

Susanne Wofford is the Mark Eccles Professor of English and the director of the Center for the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; her areas of scholarly interest are Shakespeare, Spenser, Renaissance and classical epics, comparative European drama, Renaissance fiction and the novella, and narrative and literary theory, among other areas. She came to the University of Wisconsin in 1992 as an associate professor. Prior to that, she was the Charles B.G. Murphy Associate Professor of English at Yale, where she began as an assistant professor in 1982. She has been a member of the Bread Loaf School of English since 1987, was a visiting professor of English at Harvard in 1999, and was a visiting faculty member in Princeton’s Program in Theatre and Drama and a Fellow of Princeton’s Council of the Humanities in 2000.

Her publications include The Choice of Achilles: The Ideology of Figure in the Epic (Stanford University Press, 1992); the co-edited volume Epic Traditions in the Contemporary World: The Politics of Community (University of California Press, 1999); Shakespeare: The Late Tragedies (Prentice-Hall, 1995); Hamlet: Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism (St. Martin’s Press, 1994); articles on “Antony’s Egyptian Bacchanals: Heroic and Divine Impersonation in Shakespeare’s Plutarch and Antony and Cleopatra” in Shakespeare and Plutarch, a special issue of Poetica; “Gendering Allegory: Spenser’s Bold Reader and the Emergence of Character in The Faerie Queene III,” Criticism; and “Britomart’s Petrachan Lament: Allegory and Narrative in Spenser’s Faerie Queene III, iv,” Comparative Literature, among others.

Professor Wofford is the recipient of many prizes and honors. These include: the University of Wisconsin Hilldale Award for Collaborative Research (twice); the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, UW-Madison; the Robert Frost Chair at the Bread Loaf School of English; the A. Whitney Griswold Teaching Award from Yale University (twice); the William Cline Devane Medal for Distinguished Teaching at Yale University; a Mellon Fellowship; a Whiting Fellowship; a Danforth Fellowship; a Marshall Scholarship; and her election to Phi Beta Kappa, among many others.

She is a member of a number of professional organizations, including: the Shakespeare Association of America, the American Comparative Literature Association, the Modern Language Association, The Renaissance Society of America, The Spenser Society, and GEMCS: The Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies.

Wofford received her B.A. from Yale College, summa cum laude. She received her B.Phil. in general and comparative literature from Oxford University, and her M.Phil. and Ph.D. in comparative literature from Yale.