Northup named dean of the Honors College

Lesley Northup has been named dean of the Honors College.

“The national search confirmed that our Honors College has identified a unique niche with its blend of intellectually demanding interdisciplinary courses, an emphasis on developing future leaders, a strong program of creative and research activity, and requirements for active community engagement,” said Provost Douglas Wartzok in a letter to the university community. “During her service as interim dean, Lesley Northup initiated or further refined each of these components of the Honors College experience.”

Northup has served as associate dean or interim dean for the past seven years. She won the Provost’s Operational Excellence award in 2009. Before becoming associate dean, she taught the first-year Honors course for three years.

She came to FIU in 1993, joining what was then the Department of Philosophy and Religion, and played a leading role in creating the current Department of Religious Studies. As graduate program director of the department for many years, she guided the development of the master’s in religious studies and saw the program through its tenuous early years.

Her ability as a teacher was rewarded with a Teaching Incentive Program award and two FIU Faculty Senate Excellence in Teaching awards. She was very active in university affairs, serving in such areas as the Faculty Senate, the FIU Athletic Council, the Board of the Academy for the Art of Teaching, and the Access and Equity Committee. These and numerous other contributions to the university earned her a Faculty Senate Excellence in Service award.

Northup holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; the Episcopal Divinity School; and the Catholic University of America, where she studied ritual and liturgy.  Her research in the area of women’s ritualizing has resulted in two books, Ritualizing Women: Patterns and Practices, and Women and Religious Ritual, as well as multiple articles. She gives frequent guest lectures on the subject. Her secondary area of specialization, the development and hermeneutics of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, has also resulted in two books and many articles and chapters.  She also has edited four books of primary North American ecclesiastical documents.Her areas of pedagogical interest are myth and ritual studies, American religious history, and church-state issues.

An Episcopal priest, retired Navy commander, and former vice president of a printing company, she brings diverse experience and perspectives to her research, teaching and administrative responsibilities.  In the community, among other things, she has served on the Board of the Florida Humanities Council and the ACLU Religious Freedom Project Advisory Board, and as the Religious Services Coordinator for the 1996 South Florida Olympic Village.  She is a frequent guest on WPBT’s program, Viewpoint.

Wartzok added, “I thank the Honors College Dean Search and Screen Committee, which under the leadership of Dean of Undergraduate Education Douglas Robertson, conducted a careful and complete review process resulting in a set of finalists who brought extensive experience and many innovative ideas to their on-campus interviews. I would also like to thank the students, faculty, and staff, who participated in the interview process.”

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