College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

Will Stockton named Chair of Clemson English Department


Will Stockton, a member of the English faculty since 2010, has been appointed Chair of the English Department, effective July 1.

“It’s a great honor,” Stockton said. “I look forward to helping to grow a department that has been so supportive of me over the past 11 years.”

Susanna Ashton, professor of English and current chair of the department, is stepping down to continue working on a book project that includes a fellowship at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University.  

“Susanna Ashton did a splendid job during an extremely challenging time,” said Nicholas Vazsonyi, Dean of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. “We are all very grateful but also very proud of her opportunity at Harvard, where we wish her much success with her research project. It’s an exciting time for Will Stockton to be taking over as Chair, as we emerge from the pandemic crisis. He has a lot of support from the department, which is huge and complex. I look forward to hearing about the initiatives he and his colleagues bring to the table.”

Stockton, an English professor whose research focuses on Renaissance literature and queer theory, assumes leadership of a department with more than 70 faculty members and 200 students majoring in English. An additional 90 students minor in English.

“The committee is excited about Will’s fair-minded approach to leadership and governance as forms of departmental citizenship, as well as his readiness and capacity to listen, learn from, and work with the faculty and other departmental constituents he sees himself as serving,” said Erin Goss, an Associate Professor of English who led the search committee. 

As a part of its general education responsibilities, the department engages with almost every student on the Clemson campus. About 12,000 Clemson students take English classes every year, especially on the freshman and sophomore levels.

English is the highest credit-producing department in the College with 34,506 undergraduate hours generated in 2019-20.

Growing the department

Stockton’s top goal is to expand the department, attracting more English majors to the undergraduate and graduate programs.

A bachelor’s degree in English opens up a variety of job prospects, Stockton said. Top careers for English majors include education, journalism, technical writing, public relations, and law. Many English graduates continue their education in graduate programs in the humanities and other disciplines.

English courses at Clemson cover the gamut from literary studies to cultural studies, business writing, technical writing, scientific writing, journalism, creative writing, and rhetoric and composition.

Long-term goals include reviewing the majors and tracks for undergraduate and graduate programs, ensuring that the program continues to align with student and faculty interests, Stockton said.

Spotlighting research

Another priority for Stockton is promoting the research and scholarship of English faculty.

“I have been at Clemson for 11 years now, and it has been a very nurturing institution,” Stockton said. “I have felt mentored here, coming up from the assistant professor level to associate professor to a full professorship. I’ve felt very supported in my research, whatever direction it has taken. I have a fantastic set of colleagues. It’s a great place to work.”

Stockton earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in English at Indiana University Bloomington. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Political Theory at the University of Virginia.

Stockton’s recent books include “Members of His Body: Shakespeare, Paul, and a Theology of Nonmonogamy” (Fordham University Press, 2017), and translations of Sergio Loo’s “Nightmare in Narvarte” (Literalia, 2020) and Fausto Alzati Fernandez’s “Something So Trivial (Literalia, 2019). He is co-editor of “The 33 1/3 B-Sides: New Essays by 33 1/3 Authors on Beloved and Underrated Albums” (Bloomsbury, 2019) and co-author of a study of the DC Talk album “Jesus Freak” (Bloomsbury, 2018).

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