Faculty

The College of Arts and Sciences has more than 600 regular faculty members. This section provides information about faculty policies, organizations, news, upcoming events and deadlines, and more.

  • Dr. Stephanie Evans Dr. Evans was appointed Professor and Director of the Institute for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality in 2019. She holds a Ph.D. in Afro-American Studies, with a concentration in History and Politics and a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Evans has accrued much experience as faculty and administration at several institutions. After eight years as a faculty member in Women’s Studies and African American Studies (and one year as Director of AAS) at the University of Florida, in 2011, Dr. Evans joined the Department of African American Studies, Africana Women’s Studies, and History at Clark Atlanta University, where she served as Department Chair from 2011-2019. Professor Evans’ areas of research specialization include Black women’s intellectual history, mental health and wellness; social justice and empowerment education; African American autobiography and memoir; research methods in African American history and digital humanities; community engagement, service learning, and community-based research; and sexual violence prevention and survivor advocacy. Her current research explores Black women’s historical wellness, specifically investigating themes of inner peace, self-worth and self-care practice, stress management methods, and healing traditions in elder memoirs. Who is your most important mentor, and why I have had many educational mentors at different points in my life; all helped me grow in significant ways. Several guided me directly or indirectly, from my McNair mentor (Cherryl Arnold) and dissertation advisor (John H. Bracey, Jr.), to educators and writers who have inspired my work toward peace (Sonia Sanchez) and love (Sheila Flemming-Hunter). My most important mentor was Pam Copley, my 8th grade dance teacher. She taught me how to face challenges front-and-center, to own my body through self-expression, and how to “figure it out” when the pressure was on and things got difficult or confusing. Each of these mentors helped me make the significant connection between mental, spiritual, and physical development that prepared me (more or less) to navigate the stress of academe. What . project and/pr research are you currently working on? My research on Black women’s intellectual history has evolved into a study of mental health and wellness. I have published several articles and co-edited two volumes on the topic. This year I started editing a book series for SUNY Press, titled “Black Women’s Wellness.” The manuscript I have worked on over the past six years focuses on Black women’s historical wellness and inner peace. Specifically, I look at self-care strategies in elder memoirs as guides for how to deal with traumatic stress. There are several practices that I cover in the book (music, prayer, and exercise), but hone in on two methods of historical healing: yoga and meditation. Elders, like Sadie and Bessie Delany (who lived to be 109 and 104 years old) practiced yoga for decades and have much to teach us about sustainable struggle to deal with daily and continual stress. One compelling example I recently brought to light in this context was Rosa Parks and her thirty-year yoga practice. We know Parks from her activist work, but rarely connect her life-long activism with the fact that she lived to age 92. The Association of Black Women Historians recently featured my Rosa Parks yoga story as a blog post HERE. How does your work make an impact on the world? My research and teaching on Black women’s historical wellness is a problem-solving project to address mental health stressors, specifically issues that emerge for survivors of sexual violence. Movements like #MeToo and #MuteRKelly reflect the need to address the public health issue of sexual violence by including Black women’s voices at the core of defining and addressing the problem. The Rosa Parks story is an example of wellness history that can be useful when exploring mental health challenges and providing culturally competent toolkits to address health disparities, particularly as they relate to rape and sexual harassment—which Mrs. Parks addressed directly in her life work. Recently, in June 2019, actress Taraji P. Henson delivered emotional testimony to the United States Congress about the vital need for mental health services in African American communities. Providing integrated community-based mental health services is a global issue as well. In 2012, the World Health Organization published the Mental Health Action Plan. One of the four objectives was, “To implement strategies for promotion and prevention in mental health [and] encourage the use of evidence-based traditional practices for promotion and prevention in mental health (such as yoga and meditation).”  Similarly, the United Nations founded the International Day of Peace (21 September) with the idea of impacting mental health on the personal, local, and global level. There was an explicit recognition of violence against women and advocating meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practice to support survivors. As poet Sonia Sanchez wrote, “peace is a human right.” I write about Black women’s inner peace and survivor self-care as radical practices. My focus on historical connections to current crises place both problem and solution in generational context. What do you enjoy the most about teaching? I love introducing students to new books (or introducing old books, new to them). I enjoy passing on resources and publications that raised my consciousness, changed my perceptions of life, and to share books that helped me (to quote Tina Turner) “rearrange my place in the universe.” There is a vast library of publications I recently collected to commemorate the 50th anniversaries of Women’s Studies and African American Studies as academic disciplines. Sharing this resource with students in class, in preparation for exams, and as a guide for their research helps them see the vast amount of information available and also clarifies how they can make a contribution to extant scholarship. Literature reviews also help to show how these fields have developed over time. (See The Black Women’s Studies Booklist.). I  also enjoy teaching about various source types beyond books. I use an acronym to outline the rich resources available for research: “Scholars without sources are REAL BAD NEWS.” REAL BAD NEWS identifies sources from government reports, archives, newspapers, and recorded interviews, to book reviews and laws/legal journals, in addition to books. In a time when students are inundated and often overwhelmed with information, teaching how to examine and evaluate different source types seems a vital skill set to pass on. I also love the feeling when students realize how much valuable knowledge the already possess and how their life experiences can, and should, fuel new areas of inquiry. What is your favorite object in your office, and why? My favorite item is a painting of Mary McLeod Bethune that my husband Curtis Byrd commissioned for my 40th birthday (ten years ago). Bethune is one of the many figures that has guided my work from the beginning of my academic career. She looks over my office and is a guiding force, along with Anna Julia Cooper, for my research and teaching, administrative service, and community building.
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  • Maria Mackas Program:  PhD in Literary Studies, Department of English Previous Education: BA in Journalism, University of Georgia (1977) and MA in Literary Studies, Georgia State University(2017) Research/Professional Interest:  The immigrant experience in literature What inspired you to attend Georgia State? For many years, I have wanted to be a teacher. I started working with young people at my church in the late 1990s, and realized it was my passion. I helped lead a trip to El Salvador to build a school, and to the Yakima Indian Nation in Washington State to rehab homes. Working side by side with young people changed me profoundly. My grandmother was a teacher who touched many lives – including mine – and I want to follow in her footsteps. This, coupled with my life-long love of literature, led to my decision to earn a Master’s, and now a PhD. I knew Georgia State catered to non-traditional students, and that it was the place for me because I work full-time, and I’m older. GSU has been the perfect choice – I cannot imagine a more supportive, encouraging environment. How has studying abroad impacted your personal, professional, and/or academic goals? Thanks to study abroad (I’ll be going on my fourth trip during spring break in March 2019), I’ve been able to earn credits in flexible, accommodating ways. But it’s much more than that: I’ve formed connections with people who love the same things I love: reading, writing, and learning. You really get to know people when you’re with them 24/7. Honestly, I thought I would feel weird because I’m old. But I’ve not just been accepted, I’ve been embraced. The brilliant young people I’ve gotten to know are not just my classmates, they’re my friends. We share dinners, lunches – we text and talk. They have made me truly believe age doesn’t matter. Also, learning from our guides in other countries has helped me learn so much about our country; for example, last year, in Scotland, the overwhelming national pride and solidarity made me painfully aware of the destructive divisiveness in today’s America. Also, I’ve become fascinated and drawn to immigrant populations, and am researching the immigrant experience in literature as I work toward my dissertation. What are some of the benefits of going to school after gaining experience in the work force? So many! I am not afraid to ask stupid questions in class. As an undergraduate, I didn’t want to sound dumb, but now I don’t care. My main objective is to learn, and I’m not concerned about what my classmates or my professors think of me. Also, having run my corporate communications business for more than 30 years, I’m accustomed to managing my time, juggling many tasks, meeting deadlines, and burning the midnight oil. Mainly though, I appreciate school so much more now. I’m not just trying to get by – I’m savoring every class. What are some of the challenges? As the main breadwinner in our family, going to school while continuing to run my business has been tough. I pretty much have had to work seven days a week, with lots of late nights and early mornings, since I started grad school in Fall 2014. My career has been successful by any measure, but I want more: I want to give back, through teaching. That’s what keeps me going. Can you speak a little about your MA thesis and the paper that evolved into your thesis? I have always loved Willa Cather’s work and was excited to re-read My Ántonia in Dr. Audrey Goodman’s Fall 2015 Modern American Fiction class. A paper I wrote in that class – about the tenebraic qualities of Cather’s writing, and art’s profound influence on her work – evolved into my thesis. I was awarded the 2016 Louis Owens Award by the Western Literature Association for that paper.
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Faculty Information Reporting: Each year in the late fall, Arts and Sciences faculty submit an updated CV and a summary of their research, teaching and service for the last year.
Faculty Awards: Arts and Sciences has four annual faculty awards for senior faculty, junior faculty, teaching, and faculty diversity.
Faculty Review Services: These policies govern promotion, tenure and review policies and processes for tenure-track and non-tenure-eligible faculty.
Research Support Services: The college supports research through pre- and post-award services and access to internal and external funding opportunities.
[College Committees: Faculty members serve on a wide range of college committees on topics like the curriculum and bylaws.
[University Research Administration Services: The university provides central research services.