September 29, 1998
98-268

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

Pruitt named head of VSU's English Department

Dr. Kristin Pruitt has been named head of Valdosta State University's Department of English within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Pruitt comes to VSU from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tenn., where she worked as an English professor for nearly 20 years. She served as Literature and Languages Department head from 1987-1991, and also directed the Honors Program for the university.

"We are very fortunate to have someone of Dr. Pruitt's experience-as administrator, scholar, and teacher-assume the leadership of the largest department at Valdosta State," said Dr. Tom Dasher, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "Our Department of English is quite strong, but also quite complex. She is already proving to be a leader of vision and calm assurance."

Academically, Pruitt specializes in the works of John Milton, author of Paradise Lost. She attempts to create a classroom environment in which students interact freely, expressing their literary opinions and learning as a group.

"It's important for students to have a level of involvement in the subject matter," Pruitt said. "I think students benefit from an atmosphere of community in the classroom. If that can be established, it gives them a sense of ownership in the learning process."

A native of Rochester, Minn., Pruitt earned her Bachelor of Arts in English at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., in 1967. In 1974, Pruitt earned her Ph.D. in Renaissance Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Pruitt co-directs the biennial Conference on John Milton, the only conference in the United States devoted exclusively to Milton and open to all who wish to attend. The conference is held at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. She is also a member of the executive committee of the Milton Society of America. A volume of essays she co-edited, Arenas of Conflict: Milton and the Unfettered Mind, was recently awarded the Irene Samuel Prize. Pruitt has two children, Carrie and Andrew.