• March 26th, 2021

March 24, 2021

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama Honors College has selected Dr. Cassander L. Smith as the new associate dean of academic affairs beginning May 16, 2021.

Smith has held numerous leadership positions within and beyond The University of Alabama, including co-director of UA @ Oxford, College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Board Faculty Fellow, Provost Faculty Fellow, co-founder of African American Women in English, editorial board member for Early American Literature and president of the Early Caribbean Society.

Her teaching and research focus on race and representations of black Africans in early Atlantic literature, emphasizing the racial/cultural ideologies that helped shape English encounters with the early Americas and helped shape the literature produced about those encounters.

Smith is the author of Black Africans in the British Imagination: English Encounters with the Early Atlantic World, published by Louisiana State University Press in 2016. She also is the co-editor of Teaching with Tension: Race, Reality and Resistance in the Classroom (Northwestern University Press, 2019). Her current work in progress includes a monograph, tentatively titled “Race and Respectability Politics in an Early Black Atlantic World,” which examines the ways in which issues of race and class merge in the emancipation rhetoric of an early modern black Atlantic.

“Smith brings outstanding experience with faculty development and cross-campus collaboration as well as deep expertise in inclusive pedagogy as a scholar and facilitator, and we are delighted to have her join the Honors College community,” said Dr. Tara Williams, UA Honors College dean.

“I am honored and beyond excited to be joining such a stellar group of administrators, faculty, staff, and students who constitute the Honors College,” said Dr. Smith. “In this new position, I will strive to maintain the excellence of the Honors College and help to reinforce the college as a vital academic unit within the larger UA community.”

Smith, a native of Barnwell, South Carolina, holds a doctorate in literary studies and a master of fine arts in creative writing with a concentration in fiction from Purdue University, and a bachelor of science in newspaper journalism from Florida A&M University.

In addition to her responsibilities as associate dean, Smith will continue her work as a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in early African American, American, Caribbean and Renaissance literatures.

The Honors College at UA enhances the undergraduate curriculum. Its foundation is the Honors Experience, which provides students with an enhanced academic curriculum and the ability to work with their peers and outstanding faculty members in an enriched academic environment. 

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