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Center Staff

Renée Nicholson

Director of the Humanities Center, Teaching Associate Professor and coordinator of the Multidisciplinary Studies program
Renée Nicholson is a known and celebrated writer, educator, mentor and expert in narrative medicine. Since 2013, she has made significant contributions in teaching, service and research and has undertaken additional efforts in academic advising, fundraising, grant writing and cross-curricular integration. 

Nicholson’s interdisciplinary project, “The Value of Expressive Storytelling/Writing on Quality of Life,” funded in part by a Humanities Center grant, was a collaboration with WVU School of Medicine to capture the experiences of HIV patients in Appalachia. This project, as well as similar work with cancer patients in Appalachia, earned her the 2018 Susan S. Landis Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts at the West Virginia Governor’s Arts Awards and the 2019 Eberly College of Arts and Sciences’ Outstanding Public Service Award. She also is the 2020 Winner of the Nicholas Evans Award for Excellence in Advising (WVU). Her books include two collections of poetry, Roundabout Directions to Lincoln Center and Post Script; a memoir-in-essays, Fierce and Delicate: Essays on Dance and Illness; and co-editor of the anthology Bodies of Truth: Personal Narratives on Illness, Disability, and Medicine

In addition to her teaching and research, Nicholson has served as a board member for the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, chair of the fundraising committee for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra series at WVU, a member of WVU’s Campus Read committee, and assistant director and director of the West Virginia Writers’ Workshop. 
Nicholson received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from WVU and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Creating Writing from Butler University. 

Rhonda L. Reymond

Assistant Director of the Humanities Center, Associate Professor of Art History
Rhonda Reymond earned her BFA at the Savannah College of Art and Design and her MA and Ph.D. in art history from the University of Georgia.  

Reymond’s research focuses on visual culture of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. She is currently researching the professional training of African American artists working in academic traditions between 1865-1945. Her work has been published in Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem: The Achievement of African American Writers, Artists, and Thinkers, 1880-1914and her article, “Looking in: Albert A. Smith’s Use of Repoussoir in Cover Illustrations for the Crisis and Opportunity Magazines,” is in a special visual culture edition of American Periodicals: A Journal of History, Criticism and Bibliography

Forthcoming is her chapter “Reevaluating African American Art Before the Harlem Renaissance" in African American Literature in Transition, 1900-1910. Ed. by Shirley Moody-Turner. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. 

Ann Pancake


Ann Pancake is the author of three award-winning books of fiction set in West Virginia, Given Ground (University Press of New England, 2001), Strange As This Weather Has Been (Counterpoint 2007), and Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley (Counterpoint 2015). 

She earned her PhD in English Literature from the University of Washington, and her academic work focuses on social class issues, Appalachian Studies, and environment literature. 

Her stories, essays, scholarly articles, and journalism have appeared in venues like Orion, The Georgia Review, Poets and Writers, The Journal of Appalachian Studies, and New Stories from the South, the Year’s Best.