Lara Vetter, professor of English, has received this year’s Thomas L. Reynolds Leadership Award for her contributions to student success and enrollment management.
“Our Graduate Program Directors comprise faculty who not only excel in teaching and advising, but take responsibility for making graduate education grow and prosper in their program,” said UNC Charlotte Associate Provost and Graduate School Dean Tom Reynolds. “This award gives us a way to highlight and acknowledge our very best leaders and their accomplishments.”
The award comes with $1,000, an engraved plaque and the recipient’s name engraved on a perpetual trophy on display in the Graduate School.
“Dr. Vetter has been a tireless advocate for her students,” said Nancy A. Gutierrez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. “She also has been committed to the establishment of a dual graduate degree with Kingston University, London, through which students can earn an M.A. in English from UNC Charlotte and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Kingston University. This is the first such graduate dual degree at UNC Charlotte, and her leadership was critical to the creation of this unique option for students.”
As director of graduate studies for the Department of English and advisor to the English Graduate Student Association, Vetter has helped students access resources and find opportunities to present their research and network with graduate students from other universities. The EGSA awarded Vetter its Professor of the Year Award in 2017, 2014 and 2009.
“(Dr. Vetter) was always willing to meet with us when we had questions, wanted to register for courses, or simply needed some reassurance,” said Cara DeLoach, who earned her master’s degree in English literature in 2017. “Her door was open, and, even though she was as busy as any other professor in the department, she made a unique effort to be accessible.”
Vetter wants students to gain experiences that will challenge and inspire them, while also help them see how the experience of a master’s degree in English can be a path to a doctoral degree or a way to build job skills for a range of professions.
“A masters-level graduate education in the humanities offers students a wide array of skills, including facility with language and communication, critical thinking, multicultural understanding, innovation and creativity, and making connections across disciplines,” she said. “I stress with students how the humanities can transform their world views and offer a global perspective, that they are learning not just content knowledge but creativity and problem-solving.”
Joining UNC Charlotte in 2005 as an assistant professor, Vetter’s research and teaching focus on Modernism, Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Life Writing, and Gender and Sexuality.
In addition to her teaching and mentorship of students, Vetter pursues an active research agenda. Her books include A Curious Peril: H.D.’s Late Modernist Prose, which was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title and which examines the prose penned by modernist writer H.D. in the aftermath of World War II. Other works include By Avon River (by H.D.); Approaches to Teaching H.D.’s Poetry and Prose (with Annette Debo); Modernist Writings and Religio-Scientific Discourse: H.D., Loy, and Toomer; and Emily Dickinson’s Correspondences: A Born-Digital Textual Inquiry (with Martha Nell Smith).
She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Georgia State University.