Portrait of Cara Cilano

2018-19 Big Ten Academic Alliance Academic Leadership Fellow

Cara Cilano joined MSU’s Department of English as chairperson in the summer of 2016. Since my arrival at MSU, I have joined the Editorial Board at MSU Press and, at Dean Long’s request, chaired a task force on experiential learning, a key component of CAL’s Excel Network. Prior to this appointment, I was a full professor in the Department of English at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). At that institution, I held two leadership roles: director of general education, a role that developed out of my chairship of a faculty senate committee that revised that curriculum; and lead PI on a $1 million grant from the US Department of State to partner UNCW’s Departments of English and Political & International Affairs with their counterparts at the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan. This grant grew out of my scholarly expertise in Pakistani literature.

Over the course of my tenure at UNCW, I also received two Fulbright grants—the first to teach in the American Studies program at Yanka Kupala University in Grodno, Belarus (2007), and the second as Visiting Professor of Cultural Studies at Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria (2014)—and, subsequently, became a Fulbright peer reviewer for three years. As of this academic year, I am now a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador, a position that allows me to travel to colleges and universities across the nation to encourage other faculty to apply for Fulbright grants.

My research has thus far yielded three single-authored books, one edited collection, several guest edited special journal issues, and eighteen peer-reviewed book chapters and journal articles. I have been invited to give keynote addresses at several conferences, including international gatherings in Austria and Pakistan. UNCW awarded me the Distinguished Faculty Research Award, the campus’s highest research honor, in 2015-2016, a recognition that followed UNCW’s College of Arts and Sciences Research Award the previous year.

At UNCW, I was also recognized with the campus’s and the UNC system’s highest teaching honors, including the Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award (2013), a Distinguished Teaching Professorship (2014), and the Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award (2015).

I received my PhD in English from Duquesne University, and did both my BA and my MA in English at Saint Bonaventure University. Buffalo, NY, is my hometown.