Elizabeth Engelhardt, current chair of American studies, has been named interim senior associate dean for fine arts and humanities in the College of Arts & Sciences, effective March 18.
She replaces Terry Rhodes, who was appointed interim dean of the College on Feb. 26.
As senior associate dean for fine arts and humanities, Engelhardt will oversee the departments of American studies, art and art history, classics, communication, dramatic art and PlayMakers Repertory Company, English and comparative literature, Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures, linguistics, music, philosophy, religious studies, romance studies, and women’s and gender studies. Her responsibilities also include oversight of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Carolina Public Humanities, the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies and the Center for the Study of the American South. She will also work closely with the College’s director of faculty diversity initiatives.
Engelhardt, the John Shelton Reed Distinguished Professor of Southern Studies, joined the UNC American studies faculty in 2015, returning to her home state after more than a decade at the University of Texas at Austin.
As a teacher, she has inspired her students to become knowledge producers and original creators, and as a researcher and author, she has advanced understanding of Southern food and culture.
Engelhardt became chair of American studies in 2017 and is currently leading the department through several concurrent yearlong celebrations: the 50th anniversary of American studies, the 80th anniversary of folklore and the 20th anniversary of American Indian and indigenous studies.
She has supported numerous innovations in graduate education in the department, including emerging digital and nontraditional dissertation forms, expedited timelines and research proficiencies for multiple career outcomes. She is a champion of interdisciplinary research and teaching, having partnered with Wilson Library for her senior seminar in Southern studies and working with the Ackland Art Museum to bring the first three Caldwell Family Artists-in-Residence to the UNC campus. Artists have included Lonnie Holley (internationally recognized artist and musician), Ronni Lundy (two-time James Beard award-winning author) and Theresa Gloster (nationally recognized self-taught painter).
Engelhardt has a B.A. in English literature and a certificate in women’s studies from Duke University, and a master’s and Ph.D. in women’s studies from Emory University’s Institute for Women’s Studies. She is the author or editor of several books on Southern food and Appalachian culture, including The Food We Eat, The Stories We Tell: Contemporary Appalachian Tables, due out from Ohio University Press later this year.