President Hansen’s biographical background

Elaine Tuttle Hansen became president of Bates College on July 1, 2002, the seventh president of the College since its founding in 1855.

Previously she served as provost of Haverford College in Pennsylvania, a liberal arts college of 1,100 students located in suburban Philadelphia. As a faculty member at Haverford beginning in 1980, she served as chair of the English Department and as coordinator of the Haverford/Bryn Mawr Concentration in Feminist and Gender Studies.

Before joining Haverford, she was an associate editor of the Middle English Dictionary at the University of Michigan and taught at Hamilton College.

Hansen has taught a wide variety of courses in Middle English literature and in contemporary women’s writing and feminist theory, as well as introductory linguistics and writing seminars.  At Haverford she was awarded the Lindbach Teaching Prize.

The recipient of research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies, and of Whitehead and Mellon Faculty Development funds, Hansen has published numerous literary critical articles and reviews and three books: Reading Wisdom in Old English Poetry (University of Toronto Press, 1988); Chaucer and the Fictions of Gender (University of California Press, 1992); and Mother Without Child: Contemporary Fiction and the Crisis of Motherhood (University of California Press, 1997).

In 2009, she received Mount Holyoke College’s Elizabeth Topham Kennan Award, presented periodically to an outstanding alumna educator.

Hansen has served on various non-profit boards, including the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Maine Public Broadcasting Corporation, the University of Maine School of Law, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. She has served on several accreditation teams for regional accrediting agencies and various editorial boards.  As a member of the Modern Language Association, she previously served on the MLA Executive Committee of the Chaucer Division and the Delegate Assembly and chaired the Committee on Academic Freedom and Professional Rights and Responsibilities.  She is also a former President of the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship.

Hansen earned her A.B. at Mount Holyoke College, her M.A. at the University of Minnesota and her Ph.D. at the University of Washington.

She lives in Lewiston, Maine, with her husband Stan Hansen, a speech pathologist. They have two daughters: Emma, an attorney currently practicing in Manhattan, and Isla, a recent graduate of Columbia University.