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William Monroe Named Dean of The Honors College

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January 16, 2009-Houston-
William Monroe, professor of English and executive associate dean of The Honors College at the University of Houston, has been named dean of the interdisciplinary college, which is designed to provide students with an enhanced learning environment.

The appointment, effective Jan. 20, was announced by Jerald W. Strickland, interim provost and senior vice president of academic affairs.

Monroe succeeds Stuart Long, who has served as interim dean of The Honors College since Sept. 1, 2008. Long, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, will continue to teach at UH and serve as associate dean of undergraduate research and The Honors College.

"Bill Monroe, a highly respected teacher, author and an accomplished administrator, provided tremendous leadership and guidance in preparing The Honors College for its new home in the M.D. Anderson Library expansion," Strickland said. "He has drawn upon his research expertise to develop new courses in such areas as literature and medicine, and I am confident that, under Dr. Monroe's leadership, The Honors College will continue to grow and nurture excellence.

"I also want to thank The Honors College Dean Search Committee for its excellent work, as well as the outstanding contributions made by Stuart Long in leading the college for the past four months," Strickland said.

Monroe's book "Power to Hurt: The Virtues of Alienation" was selected as an outstanding academic book of the year by Choice magazine and nominated for the Phi Beta Kappa/Christian Gauss Award.  His other publications include the play "Primary Care," which deals with issues related to Alzheimer's disease, and articles on T.S. Eliot, Vladimir Nabokov and Willa Cather.

Monroe also publishes in the interdisciplinary field of literature and medicine and contributes to the scholarship of teaching, including a recent essay on the "old school" methods of Wayne Booth, his mentor at the University of Chicago. He is currently working on "The Vocation of Affliction," a book on the Georgia writer Flannery O'Connor, and teaching an honors seminar on contemporary American fiction.  In addition to his teaching and research, he directs The Common Ground Teachers Institute and founded the Medicine & Society Program at Houston.

"The Honors College is a special place," Monroe said, "and it is very much a collaborative environment.  This news is most welcome, I think, for the entire Honors community.  It represents a vote of confidence in a team of faculty and staff that have over a hundred years of cumulative experience in honors education at the University of Houston."

Monroe received his B.A. and M.A. in English from The University of Texas at Austin, where he did a senior honors thesis with R.J. Kaufmann, and was awarded a doctorate in English Language and Literature by the University of Chicago, where he worked with Booth on fiction, rhetoric and ethical criticism.  

"The special qualities of University of Houston students-energy, intellectual curiosity, independence-are reflected in The Honors College," Monroe said.  Created to serve the academic needs of gifted undergraduates in more than 100 fields of study, The Honors College provides guidance, flexibility and enhanced instruction for its 1,200 students, offering the advantages of a small college without sacrificing the resources and opportunities of a major metropolitan university.

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