Renée Nicholson, an expert in narrative medicine, has been named the new director of the WVU Humanities Center. She replaces Rhonda Reymond, who has served as interim director since August 2019 and who will return to her role as associate director of the Humanities Center. Nicholson assumes this administrative assignment on July 1 and will maintain her coordinator position in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.
“We are so grateful for Professor Reymond’s willingness to step in to the leadership role for the Humanities Center over the last year and for her work sustaining the Center’s research awards programs and other events and activities, such as the Campus Read,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed. “At the same time, we are excited to welcome Professor Nicholson as the new director and are confident that she will continue the important, collaborative work of the Center at the University and across our communities.”
Nicholson is a teaching associate professor and coordinator of the Multidisciplinary Studies program in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Since joining the College in August 2013, Nicholson has made significant contributions in teaching, service and research and has undertaken additional efforts in academic advising, fundraising, grant writing and cross-curricular integration. She is a known and celebrated writer, educator and mentor.
Nicholson’s interdisciplinary project, “The Value of Expressive Storytelling/Writing on Quality of Life,” funded in part by a Humanities Center grant, was a collaboration with WVU School of Medicine to capture the experiences of HIV patients in Appalachia. This project as well as similar work with cancer patients in Appalachia earned her the 2018 Susan S. Landis Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts at the West Virginia Governor’s Arts Awards and the 2019 Eberly College of Arts and Sciences’ Outstanding Public Service Award. A respected colleague and collaborator across campus, Nicholson has been invited to lecture at the WVU Health Sciences Center, participate in town hall meetings regarding interdisciplinary collaboration, and contribute to medical humanities curriculum development at the School of Medicine.
In addition to her teaching and research, Nicholson has served as a board member for the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, chair of the fundraising committee for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra series at WVU, a member of WVU’s Campus Read committee, and assistant director and director of the West Virginia Writers’ Workshop.
Reporting to Paul Kreider, Nicholson will build on the Center’s success in fostering and supporting innovative faculty projects in the Humanities as well as original programming aimed at engaging WVU students and communities throughout the state.