Mary Unger appointed ACM Mellon Academic Leadership fellow

Mary Unger, associate professor of English, chair of the Department of English and coordinator of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, has been designated as an ACM Mellon Academic Leadership Fellow, funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation.

She is one of 10 faculty at eight ACM colleges to be appointed for two-year terms beginning in June 2023. The program is meant to familiarize humanities faculty with academic leadership at the highest level through immersion in the workings of upper-level academic administration on each host campus.

As contributors to senior leadership discussions, each Fellow will lead a discrete project or portfolio of responsibilities as identified by the host college’s senior leadership team.

“This opportunity — and especially the community of Academic Leadership Fellows I will enter — will allow me to gain new perspectives about leadership in higher education as well as the skills to plan, design and implement systemic change in a liberal arts setting,” Unger says.

Unger’s research interests include 20th-century American literature, recovery work, women’s reception practices and reading communities, middlebrow literature, literature of the Midwest, gender and sexuality studies, critical race theory, and pedagogy.

Her recent work can be found in Reception, MELUS and Legacy. In 2020, she received the David D. Anderson Award for Outstanding Essay in Midwestern Literary Studies from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature for her essay, “The Book Circle: Black Women Readers and Middlebrow Taste in Chicago, 1943-1953,” published in the peer-reviewed journal Reception.


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