Chatham News

Chatham University welcomes Wenying Xu as vice president of academic affairs

PITTSBURGH (August 13, 2012) … Chatham University welcomes to campus Wenying Xu, Ph.D., as vice president of academic affairs. In this role, Xu will provide administrative oversight and academic leadership at Chatham, which has experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region throughout the past decade.

Xu most recently served as professor and chair of English and interim associate dean of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letter at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla., where she was closely engaged in accreditation and enrollment management and oversaw budget, tenure cases, and graduate programs. She just completed a three-year term serving as president of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States.

“In Wenying Xu, Chatham University welcomes an academic leader with great experience and a passion for providing education of the highest quality in new and innovative ways,” said Chatham President Esther Barazzone, Ph.D. “Her commitment to international education, scholarship, and Chatham’s educational mission were among the things that appealed to us in selecting her as our new Vice President of Academic Affairs, and we look forward to working with her to realize our exciting vision for Chatham’s future.”

“I am deeply attracted to what Chatham stands for: women’s leadership, global awareness, and environmental sustainability,” says Xu. “These have been my values for decades. I am also very excited to play a leadership role in this university as it moves forward to build its international reputation.”

Born and raised in China, Xu received her B.A. in English from Hebei University, where she taught English for three years after receiving her degree.  She came to the United States for graduate studies at West Virginia University, where she received an M.A. in English. Xu received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Pittsburgh, where she wrote her dissertation on a comparative study of 19th century American and Chinese realism, a study of literature as social criticism in two different cultures.

Prior to serving as professor and chair of English at FAU, Xu served as both director of graduate studies (2005-2007) and director of undergraduate studies (2003-2005). Previously, she served as associate professor of English at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., and as visiting professor at the American Studies Center at Sichuan University in China. In 2002, she had the honor of serving as a Fulbright Lecturer at Xiamen University in China. In 1999, Xu attended the prestigious Iowa Summer Fiction Workshop.

She is the author of “Historical Dictionary of Asian American Literature and Theater” (Scarecrow Press, 2012); “Eating Identities: Reading Food in Asian American Literature” (University of Hawaii Press, 2008) and “Ethics and Aesthetics of Freedom in American and Chinese Realism” (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2003), as well as many articles in international and national journals and several chapters in publications.

Xu relocated to Pittsburgh with her husband Henry Ruf, Ph.D., a retired professor of philosophy, and their 19-year old son, Alan.

About Chatham University
Chatham University’s historic Shadyside Campus, founded in 1869, is located in the heart of Pittsburgh, Pa. With accelerated bachelor’s and graduate programs, residential and low-residency degree programs, and comprehensive online programming, Chatham students from around the world can balance their personal lives while continuing their education. Chatham’s enrollment throughout the past decade was the fastest growing in the region. In 2008, Chatham received the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus in Pine-Richland, the future home of the School of Sustainability and the Environment, which will be a place of learning, research, and practicing sustainable behaviors that can be replicated elsewhere to make the world a better place.

The Chatham College for Women is dedicated to fostering the next generation of women leaders with more than 40 majors, internship and study abroad opportunities, and an academic approach developed to help students think creatively and communicate more effectively. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham’s College for Graduate Studies and College for Continuing and Professional Studies offers co-educational post-baccalaureate, graduate, and doctoral programs. Integrating strong community partnerships and innovative programming in such burgeoning fields as sustainability and the health sciences, Chatham programs are designed to meet the needs of tomorrow’s economy.

Chatham has demonstrated institutional commitments to reach carbon neutrality by 2025 and has been recognized as a leader in sustainability by The Princeton Review, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the League of American Bicyclists, and Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future. For more information, call 800-837-1290 or visit