Jennifer Summit named American Council on Education Fellow

Jennifer Summit, by Simon Firth

JENNIFER SUMMIT, professor of English, has been named an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow. She is one of 57 fellows, nominated by the presidents or chancellors of their institutions, selected this year.

The ACE Fellows Program, established in 1965, is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing promising senior faculty and administrators for responsible positions in college and university administration.

Summit joined the Stanford faculty in 1995 as an assistant professor of English. She earned her BA in English at Vassar College and her PhD in English literature at Johns Hopkins. At Stanford, she is also the Eleanor Loring Ritch University Fellow in Undergraduate Education. She served as chair of the English Department from 2008 to 2011 and is a faculty fellow with the Center for Teaching and Learning. She directs a multi-campus working group on undergraduate literacy called “What is a Reader?” funded by the Teagle Foundation.

Summit serves as a committee member for the Study of Undergraduate Education at Stanford (SUES) and is chair of the group’s Subcommittee on Writing and Oral Communication.

Summit’s ACE fellowship, which she will develop in consultation with HARRY ELAM, vice provost for undergraduate education, will focus on undergraduate education reforms. Her intent is to study other colleges and universities with innovative undergraduate curricula and strong faculty involvement to help plan the implementation of SUES proposals.

“My own special interest is undergraduate writing requirements and their delivery across the departments, since I chaired the SUES subcommittee on writing and oral communication,” Summit said. “So I’ll be particularly interested in learning more about how faculty, departments and writing programs work together to deliver strong campus-wide writing and communication requirements across the disciplines. I’m also interested generally in the challenges of bridging general education requirements—like writing—and the work of the departments and academic programs, and coordinating breadth requirements into synthetic interdisciplinary clusters or pathways, which a number of other campuses have been doing in interesting ways.”

Summit’s research focuses on Medieval and Renaissance English literature, with a special interest in the histories of books, reading and the disciplines. She is the author of Memory’s Library: Medieval Books in Early Modern England (University of Chicago Press, 2008). The book won the Roland H. Bainton Book Prize from the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference and the John Ben Snow Foundation Prize from the North American Conference on British Studies.

See the American Council on Education press release.

—Kate Chesley; photo by Simon Firth