Annette Kolodny


Honored By

Honored by: Wilkening, Laurel L.
Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Gift: Gateway Entry and Two Arches with Seating

Ever since her 1960s graduate student days at the University of California, Berkeley, Annette Kolodny has combined political activism in the Civil Rights, women's, and environmental movements with a scholarly scrutiny of American culture and its discontents. By the mid-1980s, she was an internationally influential and prize-winning scholar best known for her innovative work in the areas of feminist literary theory, ecocriticism, frontier studies, and early American literature. Her many publications included The Lay of the Land: Metaphor as Experience and History in American Life and Letters (1975) and The Land Before Her: Fantasy and Experience of the American Frontiers, 1630-1860 (1984) as well as her award-winning and much anthologized essay, "Dancing Through the Minefield: Some Observations on the Theory, Practice, and Politics of a Feminist Literary Criticism." In 1988 Professor Kolodny became the first woman to be named Dean of the College of Humanities at the University of Arizona. She was thus the first woman to be named an academic dean outside of the College of Nursing. Between 1988 and 1993, Dr. Kolodny introduced a host of policy innovations designed to enhance the success of women and minority staff, students, and faculty. Among other things, she facilitated the development of new promotion and tenure procedures, more democratic governance procedures, family-friendly policies, the increased hiring of women and minority faculty members, improved financial support for graduate students, and she introduced a "buddy system" for faculty and graduate students alike. She also appointed the College's first National Advisory Board, began active fundraising, and received Board of Regents approval for a new building for the Humanities. Her experiences in higher education administration are detailed in her best-selling book Failing the Future: A Dean Looks at Higher Education in the Twenty-first Century (1998). In addition to her teaching and scholarship, Dr. Kolodny now also writes about higher education issues and, as a consultant, works with schools across the country and around the world to effect positive change on campus. She is currently College of Humanities Professor of American Literature and Culture and continues to garner honors both at home and abroad.