TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Early modern literary scholar Dr. Michelle M. Dowd has been named Hudson Strode Professor of English and the new director of The University of Alabama’s Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies.
The program, which began in the early 1990s, was established by the generous gift of Hudson Strode and his wife, Thérèse, in order to enhance the University’s teaching mission.
Their generosity has provided enhanced stipends for students and allows the University to bring nationally and internationally recognized scholars to campus to participate in the biennial Strode seminars and the annual Strode lecture series.
It also provides funds for student travel and research, including support for students to attend workshops and seminars at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. and has enabled the creation of the Shakespeare-on-Film Series and the staged reading series Improbable Fictions.
“The Strode Program is nationally and internationally well-regarded for Renaissance studies,” Dowd said. “I’ve known about it since I was in graduate school, and when the position opened, I didn’t hesitate. There aren’t many departments or programs in the country that have a center like this.”
Dowd plans to continue the legacy of Dr. Sharon O’Dair, who retired earlier this year, by reaching out to the community and maintaining a high standard of scholarship and collaboration.
“My goal is to build on strengths that are already here,” Dowd said. “The program does a great job with outreach, and it has a wonderful reputation. Because the Strode program is primarily a graduate program, I also want to help students train for an academic career—and help them see beyond an academic career as well. I don’t want to limit their options by sticking to too narrow a model of training.”
Prior to coming to UA, Dowd worked at the University of North Carolina Greensboro for 12 years. She is particularly interested in Shakespearean drama and early modern women’s writing. In addition to authoring six books and more than a dozen articles and book chapters, she has also won multiple national awards and fellowships, including the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies.
The Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards included Rhodes and Goldwater scholarships.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.