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School of Liberal Arts

Meet the Associate Deans

  • Deborah

    Burns, Ph.D.

    Associate Dean and Associate Professor

    Dr. Burns earned her Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island. She has been a faculty member at Merrimack College for twenty years and is currently serving as the Associate Dean of The School of Liberal Arts. Her scholarship focuses on Writing Center theory and practice, and her co-authored article with Linda Shamoon has been republished in a number of anthologies and has been cited in many articles and papers. Her articles have been published in Writing Center Journal, Perspectives on Plagiarism and Intellectual Property in a Postmodern World, The Politics of Writing Centers, The Writing Lab Newsletter, and Writing in The Center. Dr. Burns has presented papers at the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication and at regional and national conferences. Her current research focuses on the writing of missionary women of the 19th and 20th centuries. Dr. Burns was Chair of the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences and past President of the Faculty Senate.

    Deborah Burns, Ph.D.
    978-837-5358
    Email: burnsd@merrimack.edu
  • Monica

    Cowart, Ph.D.

    Associate Dean and Professor

    Dr. Monica Cowart earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and specializes in philosophy of psychology, mind and cognitive science. Dr. Cowart earned her clinical degree from Lesley University and is licensed as a mental health counselor in Massachusetts. She also has a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Georgia. Her clinical, philosophical, and social justice interests intersect in a research program that focuses upon using the theoretical applications of embodied cognition to inform the creation of just laws and effective clinical interventions for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. Dr. Cowart’s expertise in working with survivors has led to presentations on a national and international level on topics such as consent, mindfulness, trauma-informed care, and gendered constructions of PTSD. All of these real-world applications are firmly grounded in her theoretical work on embodied cognition.

    Dr. Cowart currently serves as Associate Dean of the School of Liberal Arts. She prioritizes collaborating with faculty to create new initiatives, such as the interdisciplinary film studies program that will start Fall 2015. Dr. Cowart previously chaired the Philosophy Department for over six years and has been a member of the Merrimack faculty since 2000, during which she was awarded a CETL Fellowship and multiple research grants. Dr. Cowart currently is serving her second term on the Board of Directors of Jane Doe, Inc., the Massachusetts coalition to end sexual assault and domestic violence.

    Monica Cowart, Ph.D.
    978.837.5265
    Email: cowartm@merrimack.edu
  • Kerry

    Johnson, Ph.D.

    Associate Dean and Professor

    Dr. Kerry L. Johnson earned her B.A. in the Honors English Program at the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in English at the University of Iowa. She has been a faculty member at Merrimack for seventeen years and is completing her final year as Associate Dean of Liberal Arts. She has collaborated with faculty to launch new programs in the School of Liberal Arts, including a new major in Social Justice, and she continues to work on a new initiative that explores the interdisciplinary connections between creativity and values. Her teaching and scholarship focus on modernist British and Irish literature, Anglophone Caribbean literature and postcolonial literatures. Dr. Johnson most recently co-edited Rhys Matters: New Critical Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) a collection of essays on Caribbean modernist writer Jean Rhys. Additionally, she has presented papers on writers such as James Joyce, Jean Rhys, Katherine Mansfield, Wilson Harris and Patricia Powell at a number of national and international conferences, and has published essays in such journals as Modern Fiction Studies, Journal of Caribbean Literatures and World Literature Written in English. Dr. Johnson served as President of the Faculty Senate during 2008-09 and was the chair of the Merrimack College Speakers Series.

    Kerry L. Johnson, Ph.D.