A professor of English, with appointments in women’s and gender studies and Asian studies, Ruth teaches a broad range of classes in literature and culture of the 19th-21st centuries. Her research centers on national identity, place and space in postcolonial nations — with a primary focus on New Zealand and Australia, but periodic forays into southern Africa, India and contemporary multi-ethnic Britain. At St. Mary’s, Ruth has served in multiple administrative roles ranging from department chair to dean, and with oversight of areas as varied as general education, advising and academic services, and international education. She is currently serving as associate dean of faculty and academic affairs.
Ruth grew up in the Midwest, and has a long history with liberal arts institutions, having attended Oberlin College and the University of Chicago. She says she was drawn to Willamette by the clear devotion of its faculty and students to fully engaged learning, and the university’s unapologetic embrace of the liberal arts as central to its mission. On her first visit to Willamette, she fell in love with the Mill Race; returning a few weeks later for her interview, she was enchanted to see students parked in the middle of the stream in Adirondack chairs, enjoying the first sunny day of spring.
The openness and welcome she experienced on campus sealed the deal for her, she says: “A university noted for both its academic programs and the strength of its commitment to social responsibility; a stunningly beautiful campus; and a genuinely friendly, relaxed and intellectually curious group of people — it’s a hard combination to beat!”
A long-time aficionado of the Pacific Northwest, Ruth is intrigued by Willamette’s role in early Oregon state history, and eager to explore the community and nearby natural environs with her husband, Jeff, and dogs Inyo and Kootenai.
The search committee included CLA faculty Sammy Basu, Drew Duncan, Rachel Steck and Abigail Susik, as well as student Dylan Sheldon, staff Mat Barreiro and Domanic Thomas, and Dean Debra Ringold. Willamette utilized the services of Susan VanGilder and the staff of Storbeck/Pimentel.