Alison Byerly

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Alison Byerly
17th President of
Lafayette College
Assumed office
July 1st, 2013
Preceded by Daniel Weiss
Personal details
Spouse(s) Stephen Jensen
Children Laramie
Brian (Burt)
Alma mater Wellesley College
University of Pennsylvania
Profession Professor
Website Office of the President

Alison R. Byerly is the President of Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. The announcement was made on January 16, 2013. She assumed the position on July 1, 2013 and became the 17th President of Lafayette College and the first female President in the college's history.[1][2][3][4]

Previously, Byerly served as provost and executive Vice President at Middlebury College in Vermont from 2007 to 2012. She had been at Middlebury College since 1989. She has been a visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and Oxford University.[5]

Her area of speciality is the intersection of literature and other media with research focus on Victorian Literature, culture and media; digital humanities; technology and the liberal arts.[6] In the announcement from Lafayette, they stated that "she is one of the nation’s most prominent thought leaders on the role of technology in higher education today;" Dr. Byerly commented “At a time when many liberal arts colleges are looking for ways to extend their reach further into the world of technology and to connect the traditional liberal arts disciplines with opportunities to pursue more project-based, hands-on modes of inquiry, Lafayette is well positioned to lead in these initiatives,”[7] She is a leading voice on emerging forms of digital scholarship, the changing role of the humanities in the digital age, the importance of curricular innovation, and MOOCs (massively open online courses).[8][9]

She has written Realism, Representation, and the Arts in Nineteenth-Century Literature (Cambridge, 1998), and Are We There Yet? Virtual Travel and Victorian Realism (U of Michigan, forthcoming 2012).[10]

Dr. Byerly is a native of Glenside, Pennsylvania in Montgomery County. She was born in 1961. Byerly earned a bachelor of arts degree with honors in English at Wellesley College in 1983, a master of arts in English at the University of Pennsylvania in 1984, and a doctorate in English from Penn in 1989 where she was awarded a University Fellowship, the Dean’s Fellowship, Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, and Mellon Dissertation Fellowship. At Wellesley she was awarded Wellesley’s Jacqueline Award in English Composition and Mary C. Lyons Prize in Writing.

Byerly is married to Stephen Jensen, a medical editor. Their daughter, Laramie, is a sophomore at Carleton College, and their son, Ryan, is in his first year of high school. She likes to sing, play the flute, and ski.[11]


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