Today, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, announces the Graduate Access and Diversity Fellowships have been renamed as the Carolyn R. Hodges Graduate Fellowships (Hodges Fellows). The new name honors the many accomplishments of Carolyn Hodges and her historic contributions to UT.
According to Dixie L. Thompson, the current Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, “The Carolyn R. Hodges Graduate Fellowships provide a way for the university to honor the work of Dr. Hodges as a faculty member and as Dean of the Graduate School. Her care for student wellbeing was consistent throughout her career, and these fellowships will recognize that legacy.”
Carolyn Hodges was the first African American to serve as Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School. Hodges’ key, and most proud, accomplishments as Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School include its rebuilding and the restructuring of the school to enhance the profile of graduate education. She led the Top 25 Task Force on Graduate Education for five years and expanded the visibility of UT through involvement in professional organizations. She worked with deans across the country to develop strategies for broadening participation in graduate education and to engage with them in developing best practices in graduate education. Other accomplishments include the establishment of the Office of Graduate Training and Mentorship that aims to enhance and sustain a culture for academic success and professional development of graduate students.
As a faculty member, Hodges taught undergraduate and graduate German language and literature courses and comparative literature. Shortly after her arrival at the University of Tennessee, she became a member of the Comparative Literature Committee and later served as president of the Southern Comparative Literature Association. In 1988, Hodges became a tenured faculty member at the university and was promoted to full professor in 1995. Her research and scholarly interest include a broad interest in interdisciplinary studies, a global approach to literary studies, and leadership. Her teaching and research have an emphasis on three major areas: multicultural perspectives in modern German literature, comparative literature, and multicultural education.
Hodges has served in several administrative roles, as well. In 1999, she was named the inaugural head of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures after the merger of two language departments the year prior. In 2004, she became the Associate Dean for Academic Personnel in the College of Arts and Sciences.
After the reinstatement of the Graduate School in 2006, Hodges became the Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School in 2007. From 2016-2019 she served as chair of the Africana Studies Interdisciplinary Program.
“As we continue to celebrate the university’s 228th anniversary, I can think of no one more fitting to recognize than Dr. Carolyn Hodges” stated Tyvi Small, Vice Chancellor for the Division of Diversity and Engagement. “By naming these fellowships in her honor, we acknowledge this trailblazer’s historic contributions to the university and embrace her commitment to ensuring everyone matters, and everyone belongs. Her contributions to the university have established her legacy as a true Torchbearer.”
Carolyn Hodges earned a bachelor’s degree in French with a minor in German from
Arcadia University in Pennsylvania. She obtained a master’s degree and a doctorate in Germanic Languages and Literatures from the University of Chicago. In 2019, she was inducted into the African American Hall of Fame at UT. Inductees have demonstrated years of contribution to service, scholarship, and development in their respective fields. In August of 2019, Hodges retired after 37 years of service at the university.