Natalie McKnight Takes the Reins

Natalie McKnight is interim dean of the College of General Studies. Photo by Kelly Davidson

Who better to lead the College of General Studies than someone who has spent decades working to raise its national profile?

Natalie McKnight was named interim dean of Boston University’s College of General Studies by President Robert A. Brown and Provost Jean Morrison, effective July 1, 2013. A member of the CGS faculty since 1990, McKnight was chair of the humanities division from 1997 to 2011 and has been the College’s associate dean for faculty research and development and director of its Center for Interdisciplinary Teaching & Learning (CITL) since 2011.

A 23-year CGS veteran, McKnight says she is excited about her new role and that one of her main goals is to continue to increase the College’s national profile. She points to how faculty and administrators from other universities are increasingly visiting CGS as a sign that it has become a model for general and interdisciplinary education. As director of CITL, she has been a key contributor to strengthening the CGS program and has led the eportfolio assessment project funded by the Davis Educational Foundation to quantitatively evaluate the success of the CGS curriculum.

McKnight holds a bachelor’s degree in English and drama from Washington College, a master’s degree in creative writing from the writing seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in English literature from the University of Delaware. She is an expert on Victorian fiction and a noted scholar of Charles Dickens. She currently serves as coeditor of Dickens Studies Annual and archivist of Dickens Quarterly, is the author of Idiots, Madmen, and Other Prisoners in Dickens and Suffering Mothers in Mid-Victorian Novels, and is the coauthor and editor of Fathers in Victorian Fiction.

Taking on this new leadership position, McKnight acknowledges feeling some “nervous energy, but that can help you get through heavy lifting, and I think there will be a lot of heavy lifting,” she predicts. “I’ll take that energy and put it to good use.”—Amy Laskowski

This article originally appeared in BU Today.