"Goucher is a self-reflective liberal arts college with a history of inclusion. It’s also a college with a conscience."
Dr. Lewis comes to Goucher after serving as the dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences and professor of English at Ithaca College. The School of Humanities and Sciences, with about 2,100 students, is the liberal arts college of Ithaca College, a comprehensive institution of about 6,500 students. Dr. Lewis’s accomplishments as dean include establishing a flexible faculty workload and clarifying scholarship expectations for the school’s faculty, significantly increasing the diversity of this faculty, strengthening faculty governance within the school, and providing leadership to establish the Integrative Core Curriculum for all students at the college.
Dr. Lewis began her studies at St. John’s College in Annapolis, where her academic passions included Greek philosophy and language, political philosophy, physics, and math. After a stint in the workforce as a marketing/media analyst, she continued her studies by pursuing graduate degrees at the University of Virginia (an M.A. in English) and Indiana University (a Ph.D. with a special field in American literature and minor fields in Afro-American studies and women’s studies). At those institutions, her interests shifted from narrative literature and theory to American and African American literature and studies, with specific focus on race, gender, and intersectionality.
Dr. Lewis' publications include Telling Narratives: Secrets in African American Literature (University of Illinois Press, 2007), Women’s Experience of Modernity, 1875-1945 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003, co-edited with Ann L. Ardis), “Biracial Promise and the New South in Minnie’s Sacrifice: A Protocol for Reading The Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride” (African American Review), and “Philadelphia Fire” and “The Fire Next Time: Wideman Responds to Baldwin” (Critical Essays on John Edgar Wideman). Current projects focus on integrative learning and liberal education, sustainable farming as a metaphor for higher education, and the digital humanities. A long-term project focuses on power, difference, and the science fiction of African American writer Octavia Butler.
Prior to her appointment as dean at Ithaca College in 2008, Dr. Lewis held faculty and administrative positions at The College of Saint Rose and Emporia State University. At The College of Saint Rose she taught American and African American literature and literary theory at the graduate and undergraduate level, as well as first-year writing courses. She also served as American studies program director, English department chair, and interim dean of the School of Arts and Humanities. At Emporia State University she taught composition and a wide range of literature courses, as well as geometry and African American studies as part of the Upward Bound program. She also founded and directed the ethnic/gender studies program and co-sponsored the gay/lesbian student group.
A native of West Virginia, where her family maintains a farm, Dr. Lewis relocated from Ithaca with her spouse, Marjorie Pryse, professor emerita of English and women’s studies at the University at Albany, SUNY. They enjoy organic gardening, beekeeping, and visiting with their daughters and young granddaughter.
"Q&A with Provost Leslie Lewis" -- Goucher Magazine, 10/16/15
"Intro to Curiosity" -- Goucher Magazine, 9/1/16
Research, Scholarship, Creative Work in Progress
I am currently writing and thinking about Goucher’s two areas of common inquiry: justice among people, with a focus on race, power, and perspective; and justice and the natural world, with a focus on environmental sustainability. Other projects include an examination of integrative learning and liberal education and sustainable farming as a metaphor for higher education. A long-term project focuses on power, difference, and the science fiction of African American writer Octavia Butler.
Telling Narratives: Secrets in African American Literature. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, December 2007.
Women’s Experience of Modernity, 1875-1945. Co-edited with Ann L. Ardis. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.
“Biracial Promise and the New South in Minnie’s Sacrifice: A Protocol for Reading The Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride.” African American Review 40.4 (2006). 755-767.
“Philadelphia Fire and The Fire Next Time: Wideman Responds to Baldwin.” Critical Essays on John Edgar Wideman. Keith Byerman and Bonnie TuSmith, eds. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2006. 145-159.
“Naming the Problem Embedded in the Problem That Led to the Question ‘Who Shall Teach African American Literature?’; or, Are We Ready to Discard the Concept of Authenticity Altogether?” White Scholars, African American Texts. Lisa A. Long, ed. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2005. 52-67.
“Towards a New ‘Colored’ Consciousness: Biracial Identity in Pauline Hopkins’s Fiction.” Women’s Experience of Modernity, 1875-1945. Ann L. Ardis and Leslie W. Lewis, eds. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003. 31-46.
“Traveling Conversation: India Dennis-Mahmood Interviews Sonia Sanchez.” Edited with Introduction. Feminist Teacher 12.3 (1999). 198-212.
“Ethnic Minorities.” Greenwood Guide to American Popular Culture. Third Edition.
Dennis Hall and M. Thomas Inge, eds. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002. 549-576.
“The Homewood Trilogy.” Cyclopedia of Literary Characters II. Frank N. Magill, ed. Pasadena: Salem Press Inc., 1990. 698-692.
“The Color Purple.” Cyclopedia of Literary Characters II. Frank N. Magill, ed. Pasadena: Salem Press Inc., 1990. 308-309.
“Nella Larsen.” Cyclopedia of World Authors. Frank N. Magill, ed. Pasadena: Salem Press Inc., 1989. 888-889.
Book Reviews and Other Publications
Race and Gender in the Making of an African American Tradition. By Aimable Twagilimana. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997. In African American Review 33.3 (Fall 1999). 692-694.
Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol. By Nell Irvin Painter. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1996. In Feminist Teacher 11.2 (1997). 155-158.
Task Force Member and Contributor, “Defining Women’s Studies Scholarship: A Statement of the National Women’s Studies Association Task Force on Faculty Roles and Rewards.” National Women’s Studies Association, 1999. Reprinted in The Disciplines Speak II: More Statements on Rewarding the Scholarly, Professional and Creative Work of Faculty. Robert M. Diamond and Bronwyn E. Adam, eds. American Association for Higher Education Forum on Faculty Roles and Rewards, 2000.
Consulting Scholar, Writer, and Editor for “Crossing Boundaries/Making Connections: African American Visions and Voices.” Multimedia web site developed by the Kansas Humanities Council as a NEH exemplary award project, completed 1998. www.ukans.edu/kansas/crossingboundaries/index.html.
“Sisters of the Harlem Renaissance,” Gail Cohee and Leslie W. Lewis, eds. An educational postcard series published by Helaine Victoria Press, 1991.
External Awards, Honors, Grants
March 2010, Ruth Schillinger Faculty Award, for outstanding service to the women of Emporia State University by founding the Ethnic/Gender Studies progam.
May 2007, Honorary Member, Sigma Delta Pi, Sociedad Nacional Honoraria Hispánica.
2005-2006, 2006-2007 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development/City of Albany Community Development Agency Community Development Block Grant award, for “Summer in the City 2005.”
2004-2005, Community Partnership Grant, American Studies Association, for “Summer in the City: An Exhibit Celebrating Arbor Hill Youth Accomplishments,” Project Director Barbara Smith.
1994-95, American Association of University Women dissertation year American fellowship.
Summer 1993 and 1992, Kansas Humanities Council Grant, Schoolteachers' Seminar, “Women on the Land: The Texts of Rural Women's Culture.”
Conference Papers & Panel Participation
Panelist, “Practical Solutions for Admissions Equity,” Association of American Colleges and Universities annual meeting: How Higher Education Can Lead: On Equity, Inclusive Excellence, and Democratic Renewal,” Washington, DC, January 2016.
Chair of session “Appalachian Studies: Cultural, Economic, Environmental, and Literary Perspectives,” American Studies Association conference, Baltimore, October 2011.
“John Wideman’s Hoop Roots as Memoir of the Writerly Self.” American Literature Association conference, San Francisco, CA, May 2008.
“Jessie Fauset’s Racial Performance as Literary Editor of The Crisis, 1919-1926.” Modernism Beyond the Little Magazines Session, Transatlantic Print Culture, 1880-1940: Emerging Media, Emerging Modernisms Symposium, University of Delaware, April 2007.
“Philadelphia Fire: Wideman Responds to Baldwin.” Emerging Critical Perspectives on John Wideman: A Roundtable, American Literature Association conference, San Francisco, May 2006.
“African American Fiction of Resistance: Antebellum Nineteenth Century Novels by Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, and Frances E.W. Harper,” Underground Railroad conference, Albany, February 2004.
“‘Colored’ Consciousness: Pauline Hopkins Edits the Colored American Magazine,” a paper presented as part of the panel “Women Producing Modernism” at the Modernist Studies Association conference, Madison, October 2002.
“The Colored Region Under the Chinaberry Tree: Jessie Fauset’s Non-Modern Novel,” a paper presented as part of the seminar “Regionalism and the Modern” at the Modernist Studies Association conference, Madison, October 2002.
“The Challenges of Change in Women’s Studies Programs: Intergenerational Issues,” a presentation as part of the Program Administrators Pre-Conference, National Women’s Studies Association, New Orleans, June 2002.
“Towards a New ‘Colored’ Consciousness: Biracial Identity in Pauline Hopkins’s Fiction,” a paper presented as part of the special session “Modern Women Writers Editing Sociology,” Modern Language Association conference, Washington, D.C., December 2000.
“Female Space: Challenging Binaries in Literature and Visual Arts,” organizer and discussant, National Women’s Studies Association conference, Boston, Massachusetts, June 2000.
“Women’s Studies in Smaller Institutions: Issues and Challenges,” roundtable discussion at the National Women’s Studies Association conference, Albuquerque, June 1999.
“Defining Scholarship in Women’s Studies,” presentation by Task Force on Faculty Roles and Rewards in Women’s Studies at the National Women’s Studies Association conference, Albuquerque, June 1999.
“Narratives of African American Slavery: Problematizing the Postcolonial ‘Other,’” a paper presented at American Cultural Studies: Theory, Practice, and Pedagogy, the Thirteenth Annual Comparative Literature Symposium at the University of Tulsa, February 1999.
“Telling Narratives: Secrets as Slavery’s Legacy,” a paper presented at the African American section meeting “Literary Traditions,” South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference, Atlanta, November 1998.
“‘The Land of Romance and Magic and Mystery’: Martin and Osa Johnson’s African Adventures,” a paper presented at the Society of Research on African Cultures Conference, “Images of Africa: Stereotypes and Realities,” Montclair State University, October 1998.
“The Politics of Backlash: Right-Wing Attacks on Women’s Studies,” roundtable discussion at the National Women’s Studies Association Program Administrators Pre-Conference, Oswego, New York, June 1998.
“The Matrilineal Nature of African American Identity: The Significance of Frances E.W. Harper's Fiction,” a paper presented for the session "Confronting Boundaries: Expressions of Racial Identity Within the Confines of Public Discourse," at the Midwest Modern Language Association Conference, Minneapolis, November 1996.
“The Color Line in Kansas: Teaching African American Literature and Talking About Race,” an invited presentation given at the 1996 Brown Foundation National Symposium, American History Unmasked: Remembering Plessy vs. Ferguson, 1896-1996, Topeka, May 1996.
“Feminist Pedagogy,” panel discussion at the National Women's Studies Association Conference, Ames, June 1994.
“Roundtable on Feminist Teaching,” panel discussion at the General Education and Literature Conference, Emporia State University, April 1993.
“Responding to Cultural Appropriation: Two Nineteenth Century American Minstrel Traditions,” a paper presented at the Popular/American Culture Association Conference, New Orleans, April 1993.
“Teaching The Bluest Eye in No Particular Cultural Context: Problems in the Classroom,” a paper presented at the North Central Women's Studies Association Conference, Bloomington, November 1989.
“The Story of Master Ahasuerus and His Wife Vashti, As Told by Frances E. W. Harper and Anne Spencer,” a paper presented at the National Women's Studies Association Conference, Towson, Maryland, June 1989.
Invited Talk, “The Value of Liberal Arts Education,” Emporia State University, March 2010.
Invited Panelist, Humanities Indicators Prototype: A One-Stop Data Shop for Humanities Decision Makers, Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences annual meeting, Baltimore, November 2009.
Invited Panelist, Undergraduate Research: Meeting the Challenges, Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences annual meeting, Baltimore, November 2009.
Invited Presenter, The Big Read at the Albany Public Library, “Zora Neale Hurston in the Library,” May 2007.
Invited Speaker, Beta Phi Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society, “Going Deep,” College of Saint Rose, March 2007.
Invited Presenter, ProVisions, “Discussing White Privilege in the Literature Classroom,” College of Saint Rose, March 2007.
Invited Presenter, Difficult Dialogues: Faculty Development Seminar, “Classrooms as Contact Zones: Defining New Pedagogical Arts,” University at Albany, October 2006.
Faculty Respondent to Frank G. Pogue, President, Edinburg University, Convocation Speaker, “Leadership and Service for a Diverse Educational Community," College of Saint Rose, September 2004.
Presenter, “Models and Resources for Diversifying the Curriculum Across Disciplines,” President’s Day, College of Saint Rose, January 2001.
Co-Presenter, “Report on Emporia State University’s Nondiscrimination Policy Changes,” Freedom Coalition, Lawrence, Kansas February 1999.
Discussion leader for the Kansas Humanities Council’s Talk About Literature in Kansas (TALK) program, introducing the following texts to community audiences in Kansas:
- Bailey’s Cafe, Winfield Public Library, January 1999; Hiawatha Public Library, April 1999.
- Song of Solomon, Shepherd Center, Kansas City, March 1999; Adorers of the Blood of Christ, Wichita, April 1999.
- Praisesong for the Widow, Junction City Public Library, Junction City, April 1998.
- Uncle Tom's Cabin, Oxford Public Library, Oxford, April 1997; Butler County Community College, September 1996; Adorers of the Blood of Christ, Wichita, December 1997; Haysville Public Library, Haysville, October 1998; Lakeview Village, January 1999.
- Letters of a Woman Homesteader, Emporia Public Library, Emporia, March 1997.
- The Color Purple, Winfield Public Library, Winfield, December 1996; Clearwater Public Library, Clearwater, October 1997.
- Their Eyes Were Watching God, Kansas Humanities Council for staff, Topeka, December 1995; Butler County Community College, October 1993.
- The Souls of Black Folk, Carnegie Public Library, Kingman, October 1995; Fredonia Public Library, Fredonia, April 1995; Sheridan County Library, Hoxie, March 1995; Dodge City Public Library, Dodge City, Meade Public Library, Meade, and Ashland Public Library, Ashland, October 1994; Hiawatha Public Library, Hiawatha, April 1994.
- My Antonia, Lakeview Village, Lenexa, September 1995.
- The Scarlet Letter, Carnegie Public Library, Kingman, March 1994; Garnett Public Library, Garnett, April 1993.
- Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Clay Center Public Library, Clay Center, May 1993; Lakeview Village, Lenexa, March 1996.
Presenter, “America Through African American Eyes,” for the Sigma Tau Delta chapter at Emporia State University, September 1997.
Presenter, “African American Women of the Harlem Renaissance,” as part of the Kansas Humanities Council's NEH Exemplary Award Project, “Crossing Boundaries/Making Connections: African American and American Culture,” scholar-in-residence at Heights High School, Wichita, May 1996; Schlagle High School, Kansas City, Kansas, May 1996; and Topeka High School, Topeka, December 1995.
Presenter, “America Through African American Eyes,” for the Speaker's Bureau, Kansas Humanities Council, Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum, Chanute, February 1996; Bethel AME Church, Coffeyville, January 1996.
Presenter, “Keeping and Telling Racial and Sexual Secrets in America,” to the Kansas chapter of the American Association of University Women, annual meeting in Hutchinson, April 1995.
Presenter, “Introducing the African American TALK Series,” Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum, Chanute, March 1995; Emporia Public Library, Emporia, September 1994.
Presenter, “Maya Angelou's 'On the Pulse of Morning,’” for Black History Month, sponsored by the Black Student Union, Emporia State University, February 1993.