Nancy West chosen as next Honors College director

West will begin her position this semester.

MU’s Office of Undergraduate Studies appointed Nancy West as the new Honors College director Thursday. She will take the place of Stuart Palonsky, who announced his resignation last September.

“The new director follows a director of 20 years who led the Honors College with remarkable success and popularity with students,” said John McCormick, professor of chemistry emeritus and Honors College Review Committee Co-Chair, in an email. “At the same time, Professor West brings a fresh view along with much enthusiasm and energy, with the promise of building on the success of the past to continue the process of integrating the Honors College into the educational goals across the campus.”

The Honors College Director Search Committee began reviewing internal applications June 30. Members interviewed six candidates before submitting final recommendations for the position in late July and early August.

“All six candidates were extremely impressive people,” said Brian Brooks, associate dean of the Missouri School of Journalism and search committee member. “I was impressed with (West)’s vision and passion for the Honors College.”

In a news release, West said she is excited for the position.

“I’m thrilled to be serving MU as the director of the Honors College,” she said. “The Honors College has an extraordinary staff who work very hard to enrich the academic lives of students. I look forward to collaborating with them — as well as faculty, departments and programs across campus — to build an even more dynamic, more visible college.”

West received her Ph.D. in 1992 from the University of North Carolina. She came to MU in 1995 as an assistant professor in the Department of English. After advancing to associate professor in 2001, she served as the associate chair of the Department of English from 2004 to 2007. She became a full professor this year.

West’s instruction has earned her awards for her work, such as the 2004 William T. Kemper Award for Outstanding Teaching, the 2005 EGSA Superior Graduate Faculty Award and the 2011 Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award. She has also won two Gold Chalk awards for Excellence in Graduate Teaching.

In addition to teaching, West has written several published articles and books. West’s first book, “Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia,” received international attention on BBC and PBS and at the National Gallery of Art. She recently collaborated with Penelope Pelizzon, a former graduate student in MU’s Department of English, on “Tabloid, Inc.: Crimes, News, Narratives.” West is currently compiling a cultural history of “Masterpiece Theatre,” the nation’s longest-running dramatic television series.

“We are so fortunate to have someone like Dr. West here at Mizzou,” Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Jim Spain said in a news release. “She is so enthusiastic and so compassionate when it comes to teaching and working with students. She genuinely cares about the students and is well-respected by the students and faculty on this campus.”

West said she hopes to give Honors College students additional opportunities for close interaction with faculty, independent research, civic participation and service learning and promote their accomplishments.

“I want people across campus, across Missouri and across the world to know the extraordinary things they’re doing,” West said.

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