A photo of a woman sitting outside in front of bushes and trees that are next to a building.
Catherine Ingrassia, Ph.D., has been named dean of VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences, (Contributed photo).

Catherine Ingrassia named dean of VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences

Ingrassia, a professor of English and interim dean of the college, begins her term as dean today.

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Catherine Ingrassia, Ph.D., has been named dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University College of Humanities and Sciences, effective Aug. 4. Ingrassia currently serves as interim dean of the college and a professor in the Department of English.

“Catherine Ingrassia is a prolific scholar and a world-renowned leader in the field of 18th-century British literature, with a particular focus on women writers. Her influential scholarship has been and continues to be published in the most prestigious university presses and academic journals,” said Fotis Sotiropoulos, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at VCU. “Moreover, she is a visionary and highly effective academic administrator who leads by example — skills which she consistently displayed throughout her career, and especially during the last year as interim dean of CHS. Dr. Ingrassia’s 30 years of experience and perspective as a faculty member, department chair and college administrator positions her well to lead the college during a period of transformation.”

Ingrassia began her career at VCU in 1992 as assistant professor of English and rose through the ranks of promotion and tenure to become associate professor in 1998 and full professor in 2005. She was appointed chair of the Department of English in 2019.

“I'm honored to be named dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences. VCU has been my professional home for my entire academic career; its mission has guided my scholarly and administrative work. We stand at a pivotal time for higher education,” Ingrassia said. “I look forward to meeting this moment and championing the profound significance of the humanities and sciences in nurturing our next generation of leaders. The opportunity to guide this college — alongside our talented faculty and staff — is a privilege.”

Ingrassia’s experience also includes seven years serving as the college’s associate dean for academic affairs and executive associate dean for research and graduate affairs. During that period, she played a leadership role in the creation of the interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Media, Art and Text program, as well as the Humanities Research Center.

Ingrassia has published seven books on 18th-century British literature, with a particular focus on women writers. Her most recent monograph, “Domestic Captivity and the British Subject, 1660-1750” (2022), explores how captivity informed identity, actions and human relationships for white British subjects as represented in fictional texts by British authors from the period.

In 2022, Ingrassia served a Summer Research Institute Fellowship at Oxford University’s Harris Manchester College and has had fellowships from archives such as the Newberry and the William Andrews Memorial Clark Library, as well as funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Ingrassia currently serves as chair of the development committee for the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, as a member of the Modern Language Association program committee and as president of the Eliza Haywood Society. She is a former editor of “Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture,” former book review editor of “Restoration” and currently serves on the editorial board of “Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature.”

Ingrassia earned her Ph.D. in English and master’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin, and her bachelor’s degree in English and classics from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.

Sotiropoulos said Ingrassia’s appointment is the result of shared governance with the faculty and staff of the College of Humanities and Sciences. While it is customary to conduct a national search for the dean position of such a large college, he said, extensive feedback from stakeholders throughout every level of the unit – and their enthusiastic support for what Dr. Ingrassia has achieved as interim dean – convinced him to defer that decision for two years and appoint her as dean.