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Arts and Sciences Names Gwendolyn Pough Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility
Gwendolyn D. Pough, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities and professor of women’s and gender studies (WGS), has been named the College of Arts and Sciences’ (A&S’) associate dean of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA). In that role, she will work with college leadership to strengthen A&S’ commitment to promoting intellectual openness and maintaining a community that is welcoming to people of all backgrounds and perspectives.
A&S Dean Behzad Mortazavi notes that Pough is the ideal fit for this position as demonstrated by her strong track record of leadership and empowerment in diversity, inclusion and social justice initiatives.
“As home to the liberal arts and sciences at Syracuse University, A&S welcomes and thrives on the richness of diverse perspectives and experiences,” says Mortazavi. “To that end, I look forward to working with Professor Pough in helping to ensure our faculty, staff and students can teach, work and learn in a setting that is equitable and inclusive.”
As associate dean of DEIA, Pough will expand on existing structures and policies that actively promote equal opportunities and dismantle systemic barriers. She will collaborate with constituents across the college to enhance diversity and inclusion in hiring practices, admissions, faculty retention and the student experience, among other areas.
“I am excited to serve the college as associate dean and will work to ensure that A&S is a welcoming space for a diversity of people and ideas,” says Pough. “DEIA isn’t something we can just say we value. It requires ongoing commitment and ongoing work. Diversity isn’t a description, or even a prescription, it should be an action. It requires that we are open, flexible and nimble. Throughout my career I have helped to foster equity, diversity, inclusion, access and belonging in a variety of ways and I look forward to bringing my vast experience to this new role.”
Pough is a renowned scholar of feminist theory, African American rhetoric, women’s studies and hip-hop culture. Her book, “Check It While I Wreck It,” (Northeastern University Press, 2004), explores the relationship between Black women, hip-hop and feminism. A faculty member at Syracuse since 2004, Pough has served the University, the college and her department in various leadership and advisory roles. As the William P. Tolley Distinguished Professor in the Humanities in A&S from 2020 to 2022, she helped to shape conversations about pedagogical practices in the classroom with an emphasis on diversity, inclusion, social justice and activism – work she will carry on as associate dean.
Among her leadership appointments at Syracuse, Pough was chair of WGS (2011-14 and 2018-21); served on the University Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Gender Pay Equity (2019-21); was director of graduate studies and undergraduate studies for WGS; co-chaired the University Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Social Justice/Social Difference Requirement (2019-20); and served on the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Promotion and Tenure (2016-18). In recognition of her exemplary accomplishments as a mentor of students, faculty and staff at Syracuse and around the country, Pough was recently honored with the 2023 Lisa Ede Mentoring Award from the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition (CFSHRC).
Beyond her scholarship at Syracuse, Pough has also held numerous appointments with professional organizations around the country. She is currently president-elect of the Rhetoric Society of America; served as assistant chair, associate chair and chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication; was chair of the Third Wave Feminisms Group of the National Women’s Studies Association; and was elected to executive boards for both the CFSHRC and the Association of Rhetoric and Writing Studies.
Prior to joining the faculty at Syracuse, Pough was an assistant professor of women’s studies at the University of Minnesota from 2000 to 2005 and an instructor of English at Western Washington University in 1998 and 1999. She holds a Ph.D. in English from Miami University, Ohio; an M.A. in English from Northeastern University, Boston; and a B.A. in English from William Paterson College, New Jersey.
Her appointment as associate dean will begin Jan. 1, 2024.