Last updated on December 5, 2020
By Evie Shaye Herndon
Volunteer State Community College has a new Dean of Humanities. Dr. Erin Mann will be joining the Vol State faculty on Jan. 4.
She is from western Nebraska, Dr. Mann has lived in Houston, Texas, northern Nebraska, rural Austria, Iowa City,Iowa and Saint Louis, Missouri, and now she will moving to Gallatin, Tennessee, she said.
“I went to the public high school in my small town, Wayne High. My undergraduate degree is from Rice University and my graduate degrees (Masters and Ph.D.) are from the University of Iowa,” Mann said.
Her undergraduate degree is in English and German, Mann said.
According to Mann’s biography on the Lindenwood University website, Mann holds her Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Iowa, where she specialized in Old and Middle English religious literature.
After graduating from Rice University, she began teaching and soon after decided to attend graduate school. After graduating from the University of Iowa with her master’s and Ph.D. she began working at the university, Mann said.
“Before I went to graduate school, I worked a year as an English language teaching assistant at a high school in Stegersbach, Austria, and then as a copyeditor for a legal publishing company in Houston for a year. I worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa for a year after graduate school and then joined Lindenwood (University) as an assistant professor of English at their Belleville campus in 2012. I was in that role for about four years, with some administrative duties, and then I took a position as Associate Provost at the St. Charles campus in 2015,” Mann said.
Working for educational institutions was something I knew I wanted to do early on, Mann said.
“When I was little-little, I wanted to be a librarian. Then I thought Egyptologist for a while in middle school, but I realized it required a lot of getting dirty and being hot. I knew I wanted to get my doctorate and be a college professor by the time I was about 15,” Mann said.
Now she will be joining the Pioneer family at Vol State, a job she is very excited about, Mann said.
“I had been looking for an opportunity to switch to the two-year college sector because I like working with students who are highly motivated, and I think community colleges are going to be on the forefront as higher education changes in the next 10 years. I also really wanted the chance to work more closely with faculty and students—my current position means that I usually only see students when there is a problem (suspension or academic honesty violation, for example). I want more chances to celebrate with students and support them in a more all-around way, so I am looking forward to those interactions. And I like to talk about teaching, and I really, truly believe that the Humanities are essential for success, so I want to partner with faculty to make Humanities at Vol State the best that it can be,” Mann said.
“For the school, I’d like to continue helping students understand the importance of good communication in achieving their goals. Humanities is one of the key places where they learn that, whether in writing, speaking, performance, art, another language, you name it. I can’t be more specific than that right now because I think it’s a little arrogant for a new dean to come in and say, we have to change X, Y, and Z before she even knows what’s been tried and what else is going on. And of course, we are in the middle of a pandemic, which makes everything that much more challenging. I will work with the faculty and with the administration to set some goals that make sense. I hope students will also give us some insight into what they think is important, what is working and how we might address their needs in new and helpful ways. Personally, my goal for the next year is to get to know Vol State and the Nashville area. It’s a weird time to be moving, but I love to travel and explore new places, so I’m hoping to figure out a way to do that safely and start to feel at home in a new state,” Mann said.
According to one Mann’s coworkers at Lindenwood University, Dr. Kristen Norwood, Mann is smart, savvy, strategic and the best boss, she has ever had.
“I’ll miss her a great deal, but I’m so happy that the faculty and students at Volunteer State will benefit from her leadership,” said Norwood