COLUMBUS, Miss. — A respected faculty member and administrator at Mississippi University for Women is shifting his focus and exchanging administrative duties for academic. Dr. Thomas Richardson, currently Dean of Arts & Sciences, will continue his academic career with the university as Eudora Welty Chair in Humanities and Professor of English.
Richardson, who joined The W in 1988, has held roles at the university that include Interim Provost, Head of the Division of Humanities, and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He most recently has served as Dean of The College of Arts & Sciences, Professor of English, and Eudora Welty Chair, while continuing to publish in his primary area of research, early 19th century Scottish literature.
With an interest in completing his ongoing projects, Richardson will now focus on his academic pursuits and research that often carry him to Scotland. His tenure as dean will end in June with the conclusion of the academic year.
“The College has got great department chairs and great faculty,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about this for about two years and now seems a good time. I’m very happy with the direction our university is moving, and I will now be able to spend more time with my scholarship and research.”
In particular, he said, he will work on completing a biography and critical study of Scottish writer John Lockhart. “He was an important literary figure, and little scholarship has been devoted to him,” Richardson said.
MUW President Jim Borsig said he will continue to rely on Richardson’s institutional knowledge. “Dr. Richardson is a highly regarded thought leader and an outstanding faculty member whose classes are sought out,” Borsig said. “I will continue to rely on his experience and his dedication to this institution. He has an important role in the life of The W.”
When the move is effective at the end of the academic year, the university will begin the process of searching for a new Dean of Arts & Sciences, Borsig said.
“Dr. Richardson has had a profound influence on the academic quality and the student experience that define The W,” Borsig said. “We are pleased that he will continue to be an integral part of the The W’s future.”
Richardson holds doctoral and master’s degrees from Duke University and an undergraduate degree from Davidson College. He has published widely about Scottish writer James Hogg, as well as Lockhart and other 19th century writers and topics. He was a founding faculty member of the Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium, this year marking its 25th year.