Vol. 17, No. 30May 7, 1998

Honors head selected, has a busy year ahead

Ann L. Ardis, English, is the new director of the Honors Program, effective July 1 and will assume her new position full-time Feb. 1, 1999. When she was nominated for the position, several factors entered into her decision to become a candidate. For one, she recalled her own positive experience as a student in the honors program at the University of Kansas.

She also has a strong interest in interdisciplinary teaching, and the Honors Program provides opportunities in that area. Honors students frequently take courses together that are related and become a cohort who observe and work with peers as they collect and synthesize knowledge. The Honors Program helps students think in an interdisciplinary way, she said.

The biggest incentive, however, was "the unique opportunity to work with a set of extraordinary undergraduates," Ardis said

Ardis, who now serves as director of graduate studies in English, already has a busy year ahead of her. She is working on a pilot project with Mark Amsler, English; Bill Idsardi, linguistics; and George Watson, physics; funded by a grant from the Center for Teaching Effectiveness, to coordinate writing instruction in ENGL 110 Critical Reading and Writing, within the context of general education courses.

Her research field is late 19th- and early 20th-century British literature, and she will be on leave this fall to finish her book, Modernism, Modernity, Mass Culture: Britain, 1880-1922, and to work on a new anthology, Women: "Experience" of Modernity: Renegotiating The Public Sphere, 1880-1930. She and Bonnie Kime Scott, English, are cohosting the annual Virginia Woolf Conference in June 1999, and she is serving a five-year term with the Modern Language Association's Late 19th- and Early 20th-Century Division.

"Becoming director of the Honors Program at this time is a challenge," she said. "The program is expanding: 547 new students have been admitted for fall 1998. This means we are faced with the daunting task of doing on a larger scale what has been done so effectively on a smaller scale."

The Honors Program also is scheduled for an academic program review in 1998-99, with a self-study leading to an external review in the spring. This review, involving honors faculty, students and staff, will examine all facets of the program.

Ardis emphasizes that her priority is for the Honors Program to continue to function as a resource and model for innovative teaching for the entire campus as it educates outstanding undergraduates and helps them reach high levels of achievement.

According to John Cavanaugh, academic programs and planning, Ardis was the "clear consensus choice and has a lot of great ideas and energy for the position."

A graduate of the University of Kansas with a master's degree and doctorate from the University of Virginia, she is the author of New Women, New Novels: Feminism and Early Modernism and articles in her field.

-Sue Swyers Moncure