Timothy R. Austin, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of English at Creighton University, Omaha, Neb., is the new vice president for academic affairs and dean of Holy Cross. Austin assumed his duties on August 1; he succeeds Stephen C. Ainlay, who became president of Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., earlier this year, after 24 years of service at Holy Cross—including 10 as dean.
“I am pleased that Tim Austin will be joining us in this very important position—I am confident that he has the skills, background and experience needed to move the College forward over the next few years,” says College president, Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., making note of Austin’s academic accomplishments, administrative experience and familiarity with Jesuit mission and identity.
“I am excited and energized at the prospect of joining an institution with such a long and proud tradition,” says Austin. “In my 29-year career at Jesuit universities, I have come to respect Holy Cross as a pre-eminent liberal arts institution in that tradition. I look forward to working with faculty, staff and students in the years ahead to build on the College’s solid academic foundation and to deepen its commitment to Jesuit values.”
Born and raised in a small town just south of London, Austin attended Oxford University and earned his bachelor of arts honors degree in English language and literature before deciding to come to the United States to study linguistics; he received his Ph.D. in this field from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In 1977, Austin began his teaching career in the English department at Loyola University Chicago, rising to chair of the department. He joined the Creighton University faculty as dean in 2001.
Austin’s research interests include theoretical syntax, the teaching of grammar, the grammar of poetry and the history of the English language. Widely published and an active figure in professional organizations such as the Modern Language Association, he is the author OF many scholarly articles as well as two major books, Language Crafted: A Linguistic Theory of Poetic Syntax (Indiana University Press) and Poetic Voices: Discourse Linguistics and the Poetic Text (University of Alabama Press).
A member of the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival Governing Board, Austin has served as board member, treasurer and vice chair of the Nebraska Humanities Council.
His wife, Megan Overby, is currently writing her dissertation for a Ph.D. in speech pathology at the University of Nebraska; they have three daughters and one son.