Sonya Stephens, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, and a Professor of French, joined Mount Holyoke College in July 2013. As dean of faculty, she serves as the chief academic officer of the College, and is responsible for faculty support, curricular support, faculty governance, and academic budgeting and infrastructure.
Stephens comes to Mount Holyoke having served as Indiana University’s first vice provost for undergraduate education. She earned a Ph.D. in French and a B.A. in Modern and Medieval Languages from the University of Cambridge, where she was a member of Murray Edwards College (formerly New Hall), a college for women. She spent 15 years on the faculty of Royal Holloway, University of London, before moving to Indiana, and has also held a faculty appointment at the University of Manchester. Stephens chaired the Department of French and Italian at Indiana from 2007 to 2009, and the newly formed School of Modern Languages at Royal Holloway in 2006. She is a former fellow of the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute, a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and of the UK’s Higher Education Academy.
Her teaching and research is primarily focused on nineteenth-century French literature and culture, especially the intersection between the literary and the visual. She is the author of a book on Baudelaire’s prose poetry, Baudelaire’s Petits Poèmes en prose: The Practice and Politics of Irony (Oxford UP, 1999), as well as numerous articles in scholarly journals. She has also published collaborative volumes of essays, including A History of Women’s Writing in France (Cambridge University Press, 2000), Ebauches/Esquisses: Projects and Pre-Texts in Nineteenth-Century France (Peter Lang, 2007), and was a co-editor of the volume Birth and Death in Nineteenth-Century French Culture (Rodopi, 2007).