posted March 5, 2013

Dr. Patrice Rankine Appointed Dean for Arts and Humanities

Dr. Patrice Rankine, a long-time member of the faculty and administrator at Purdue University, has been appointed dean for the arts and humanities at Hope College.

Rankine is on the Classics faculty at Purdue, with affiliations in the African American Studies and Research Center, comparative literature, and philosophy and literature.  He was assistant head of Purdue’s School of Languages and Cultures from 2007 to 2012, and was director of the university’s Interdisciplinary Program in Classics from 2004 to 2007.  He has taught at Purdue since 1998.

He is also being appointed professor of Classics at Hope.  He succeeds Dr. William Reynolds, who is retiring at the end of the school year after serving as dean since 1994 and as a member of the college’s English faculty since 1971.

“Bill Reynolds has been a good friend and colleague to so many here at the college over the past few decades.  I am personally grateful for his many gifts, and the ways that he has shared those gifts with us over the years.  We wish him and his wife Maura—Hope’s director of academic advising—all the best in their retirement,” said Dr. Richard Ray, provost at Hope.  “In Patrice Rankine we are fortunate to be getting a scholar of considerable merit, a highly regarded teacher, and an academic leader with a deep and abiding commitment to the liberal arts.  Dean Rankine understands well the connection between the intellectual and the spiritual, and I am looking forward to seeing his vision for the Hope College mission fully engaged in partnership with the world-class faculty he inherits from Dean Reynolds.”

The college’s academic departments are grouped within four divisions:  the arts, the humanities, the natural and applied sciences, and the social sciences.  The arts include art, dance, music and theatre; the humanities include English, history, modern and classical languages, philosophy and religion.

In addition to his academic and administrative appointments, Rankine’s involvement in the life of the university has included service on multiple divisional and university-wide faculty senates and committees, and advising student organizations including the Purdue Classical Association, the Eta Sigma Phi Honor Society and the Black Student Union. His teaching has ranged from freshman-level introductory Greek and Latin, to upper-level courses on specific works of literature and the “Ancient World Onscreen,” to graduate-level seminars and courses including “The Classics and Black Literature,” “The Classics and Literary Criticism” and “Timeless Motifs in World Literature (Myth/Adaptation).”

Rankine completed his doctorate in Classical literature at Yale University in 1998 with his dissertation on Seneca’s tragedies.  He has since developed interdisciplinary interests in African American literature and the reception of the Classics among black American authors.

His book “Ulysses in Black: Ralph Ellison, Classicism, and African American Literature,” published in 2006 with the University of Wisconsin Press, was named one of “Choice” magazine’s outstanding academic books in 2007 and is currently in its second printing.  His next book is “Aristotle and Black Drama: A Theater of Disobedience,” forthcoming from Baylor University Press later this year.

His publications also include numerous articles, book chapters and book reviews.  In addition, he has made more than four dozen scholarly talks at professional conferences and in other settings.

Rankine has received external awards and honors including an Andrew Mellon Graduate Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Foundation Career Enhancement Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Seminar Fellowship and an invitation to serve as an NEH Summer Institute faculty member.  Recognition from Purdue University has included the Excellence in Teaching Award and the Frederick L. Hovde Award for Outstanding Faculty Fellow, as well as grants and fellowships in support of his teaching and research.

Rankine graduated from Brooklyn College in 1992, and he also holds Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy degrees from Yale in addition to his doctorate.  Prior to joining the Purdue University faculty, he served as an instructor at New School for Social Research of New York University, at Bronx Community College and at Brooklyn College.