Cheryl A. Wall, a distinguished critic in the field of African American literary studies, has been named Board of Governors Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English. Professor Wall is the author of Worrying the Line: Black Women Writers, Lineage, and Literary Tradition (North Carolina, 2005) and Women of the Harlem Renaissance (Indiana, 1995), and the editor of Changing Our Own Words: Criticism, Theory, and Writing by Black Women (Rutgers, 1989). She has edited two volumes of writing by Zora Neale Hurston for the Library of America—Novels and Short Stories (1995) and Folklore, Memoirs, and Other Writings (1995)—as well as two volumes of criticism on Hurston's fiction: "Sweat": Texts and Contexts (Rutgers, 1997) and Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Casebook (Oxford, 2000). She served as section editor of the Norton Anthology of African American Literature (2003), and currently serves on the advisory board of Signs and African American Review.
A former chair of the English department, Professor Wall remains active in university affairs. In 2003, she was co-principal investigator with Mary Hartman, Director of the Rutgers Institute for Women’s Leadership, of “Reaffirming Action: Designs for Diversity in Higher Education.” This Ford Foundation-funded initiative examined the strategies colleges and universities employ to enhance racial and gender equity. Most recently, Professor Wall was selected by Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick to serve as Vice Chair of the Steering Committee on Implementation, a body organized to enact sweeping changes in undergraduate education at Rutgers. She has just become Co-Chair, with President McCormick, of the President’s Council on Institutional Diversity and Equity.
The recipient of the Warren I. Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching, Professor Wall remains an active teacher. Her courses include Black Women Writers, Black Narrative, Topics in Black Literature and Culture, and the African American Essay.