Julie Schumacher Named Regents Professor, U's Highest Faculty Honor

Novelist, Creative Writing Program director, legendary teacher recognized
Professor Julie Schumacher standing in profile in front of students, holding book, smiling, in blue sweater

English Professor Julie Schumacher has been named a Regents Professor by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. The highest honor the University bestows on faculty, the Regents Professorship recognizes those who have made exceptional contributions through teaching, research, scholarship, or creative work, and contributions to the public good. The maximum number of Regents Professors is 30; Schumacher is one of two Regents Professors named this year.

"I am thrilled that Julie Schumacher has received the University's highest honor for professors," says Department of English Chair Andrew Elfenbein. "Schumacher is an internationally celebrated writer, a legendary teacher, and a colleague who has put in long, hard hours to build the Creative Writing Program. I am so pleased that the University has recognized her exceptional contributions."

Schumacher is a fiction writer who joined the English department faculty when the Creative Writing Program began offering a Masters in Fine Arts degree, in 1996. She was awarded the 2015 Thurber Prize for American Humor for her comic campus novel Dear Committee Members (Doubleday), the first woman to receive that honor. Among the many tributes to the book, NPR described it as "a mordant minor masterpiece" and continued, "Like the best works of farce, academic or otherwise, Dear Committee Members deftly mixes comedy with social criticism and righteous outrage. By the end, you may well find yourself laughing so hard it hurts."

In 2018 Schumacher published a popular sequel, The Shakespeare Requirement (Doubleday). Schumacher won the 2007 Minnesota Book Award for her young adult novel The Book of One Hundred Truths (Delacorte), one of five novels she's written for younger readers. She's also published the story collection An Explanation for Chaos (Soho, 1997) and the novel The Body Is Water (Soho, 1995), finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award.

Schumacher's writing has also been recognized with a PEN/Hemingway Fellowship (2015), a Rockefeller Foundation Residency in Bellagio, Italy (2011), and a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Writers/Loft Award in Creative Prose (2000). She was named a Scholar of the College by the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) for 2016-2019. In 2019, she gave the CLA Commencement Address.

The University has bestowed its top honors for teaching on Schumacher: the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Graduate and Professional Education in 2019 and the Horace T. Morse/University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education in 2011. In addition, the College of Continuing Education presented Schumacher with its Distinguished Educator Award in 2008. Schumacher has worked with nearly 100 graduate students as thesis advisor, over 30 undergraduates as honors thesis advisor, and both graduate and undergraduate students on individual directed studies, beyond her standard teaching commitments.

The University's MFA in Creative Writing Program is one of the most popular and highly rated in the nation. Schumacher has served as the director of the program for four terms, more than half the time she's taught at Minnesota. As director, she was instrumental in establishing the undergraduate minor in Creative Writing, which has drawn students from all over the Twin Cities campus.

The Board of Regents will formally honor Schumacher at its meeting on September 10. Heartfelt congratulations to Professor Schumacher on this well-deserved honor!

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