Dr. Reginald Wilburn was appointed as the associate dean of UNH’s College of Liberal Arts (COLA). He will assume office on July 31, 2017, following former Associate Dean Mary Rhiel’s decision to rejoin UNH’s German program.
“I am certainly excited to serve and lead in the capacity of this office,” Dr. Wilburn said. “I believe that I am following some great role models in Professor Mary Rhiel and Professor Ted Kirkpatrick. I am really excited to serve under Dean Heidi Bostic and support her leadership vision to work on behalf of, and advocate for students, faculty, and student support service personnel to really allow the college of liberal arts to remain at the top of its game.”
In 2009, Dr. Wilburn earned his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. Currently he is an associate professor of English and African-American Studies at UNH specializing in “African American literature and culture, Milton, and intertextuality studies,” according to the Department of English’s webpage.
Dr. Wilburn’s award-winning monograph, “Reaching the Gospel of Black Revolt: Appropriating Milton in Early African American Literature,” was published in 2014 by Duquesne University Press and it won the College Language Association’s award for Creative Scholarship and the John T. Shawcross Award from the Milton Society of America according to the Department of English’s webpage.
Dr. Wilburn’s responsibilities as associate dean will include oversight of vital undergraduate and graduate areas such as student academic matters, student recruitment, student conduct, student scholarships, study abroad, career and professional success, and curriculum, according to COLA’s website.
“I believe that a liberal arts education is the sacred repository for innovative excellence,” Dr. Wilburn said. “Globally, locally, domestically, whatever problem needs to be solved, it will come by and through the power and mastery of language. You want to make innovation happen, you come to the college of liberal arts.”
Along with being a published author, doctor and professor, Dr. Wilburn’s extensive resume also includes being a former U.S. Marine as well as alumnus of the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers, where he currently serves as faculty and curriculum coordinator.
According to Dr. Wilburn, he has serviced the UNH community for many years, actively engaging in numerous boards, committees, and organizations around campus. Most recently, Dr. Wilburn took on a key leadership role in the search for a Women’s Studies Program, which saw three UNH finalist-accepting job offers.
“My position as associate dean really centers around learning,” Dr. Wilburn said. “I want to learn, then synthesize what I learn towards helping to foster stronger communications across the three main contributors, students, faculty and support staff.”
Dr. Wilburn received two UNH teaching awards while still managing to mentor students in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. On top of that, he has sung the National Anthem at several Commencements, most notably before U.S. presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton in 2007.
“As associate dean I aim to, first, listen. To listen and learn from colleagues, students, and faculty. I want to learn what in their minds are the triumphs and what are the challenges that we can turn into triumphs for the advancement of all, so that each student can get the premium education they came for,” Dr. Wilburn said.