PULLMAN, Wash. — Mary Wack, interim dean of the Washington State University Honors College since January, has been named to the post on a permanent appointment, effective July 1, Interim Provost Rom Markin announced Wednesday.
“Mary Wack is a person of unique qualities, especially well-suited to lead our nationally respected Honors College,” Markin said. “Our Honors College is a centerpiece of WSU’s strong suit, outstanding undergraduate education.”
She brings to the position both impressive academic credentials as a medieval studies scholar and expertise as a leader and administrator, Markin said.
Wack came to WSU in 1992 to serve as chair of the department of English. Since 1996, she has served as senior fellow and then director of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology. The mission of the CTLT includes faculty development and outreach, classroom research and assessment, and instructional technology.
The honors dean has set as a goal making the University Honors College a premier attraction for talented students nationwide. More than 1,000 students are enrolled in the Honors College each year. The majority of graduates go on to graduate school or to professional schools including law and medicine.
Wack earned a doctorate in medieval studies from Cornell University in 1982. She taught in the Stanford University English department as an assistant and associate professor from 1982-92. In 1984-85, she was a fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center, and in 1990 she won a Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Harry Levin Prize for best book in comparative literature.
At Stanford, she became interested in the application of computer technology to teaching. She developed and piloted an innovative course called “Electronic Chaucer” that used a variety of electronic teaching tools. In 1991, she won one of the first three-year Bing Teaching Fellowships at Stanford, which provided $30,000 to develop a prototype digital media collection.
At WSU, she continued her interests in electronic technology and teaching with such courses as “Producing the Middle Ages in Multimedia” and “Theory and Practice of the Electronic Classroom.”
In 1998, she received a Contemplative Practice Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, and taught “Contemplative Arts” for the Honors College during the spring semester 2000.
Wack succeeds Jane Lawrence, who left earlier this year for an administrative post at the University of Vermont. Gary Brown is serving as interim director of the CTLT.