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Dean of CLA

Dean of College of Liberal Arts


Dr. Susan Naramore Maher has served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts since July 2010.

Born in Summit, New Jersey, Dr. Maher spent her formative years in upstate New York near Syracuse. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University at Albany-SUNY, where she majored in English and minored in art and art history. A memorable junior-year abroad experience at the University of Nottingham (U.K.) deepened her appreciation of English literature and propelled her into graduate studies. She earned a MA in English from the University of South Carolina and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Before coming to UMD, Dr. Maher was a faculty member at the University of Nebraska Omaha, where she taught Women Writers of the American West, Great Plains Literature, Willa Cather, and 20th Century Western American Fiction. During nearly 20 years at UNO, Dr. Maher twice served as graduate program chair and department chair of English.

Dr. Maher has published widely on Great Plains, environmental, and nonfiction writers. She has co-edited collections on essayists John McPhee (2003) and Loren Eiseley (2011) and authored a book-length study of contemporary Plains essayists from the U.S. and Canada entitled Deep Map Country: Literary Cartography of the Great Plains (2014). A past president of the Western Literature Association, she also served a three-year term as president of the Willa Cather Foundation Board through 2012. Dr. Maher has been elected co-president of the Western Literature Association for 2017.

Dr. Maher often combines her love of travel with her professional interest in western American and Canadian spaces and places. An avid cross-country traveler, she and her husband Al try to journey westward as often as they can, usually with dogs in tow. Photos from these trips show Dr. Maher wearing her favorite casual gear: Stetson hat, t-shirt, faded jeans, and cowboy boots. On weekends in Duluth, she gravitates toward trails and the lake, and hopes to circumnavigate Lake Superior soon.