Cheryl Nixon

Faculty Member

University of Massachusetts Boston

Associate Provost, Professor, College of Liberal Arts


Cheryl Nixon earned a BA from Tufts University, and an MA and PhD from Harvard University. She joined UMass Boston as an assistant professor of English in 2002, became an associate professor in 2007, full professor in 2018, and has served as chair for the Department of English since 2012. She is also a member of the Honors College faculty. Previously, she taught at Babson College and New Mexico State University.

Her scholarly work focuses on 18th century literature, rise of the novel, history of the book, and law and literature. She has produced more than 35 written works, including the 2011 book, The Orphan in Eighteenth-Century Law and Literature: Estate, Blood, and Body. Her efforts have been recognized by the Joan Liem Graduate Studies Mentoring Award, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library Fellowship, Huntington Library Fellowship, and UMass Boston’s Endowed Faculty Career Development Award.

Since arriving at the university, Cheryl Nixon has been engaged in a number of global program initiatives. She led the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program for Iraq, which created and provided all academic summer programming for the Iraqi scholar program; the Iraqi Scholar Rescue Project, which hosted for 18 months an Iraqi scholar under threat; and the successful application for University of Limerick Partnership Seed Funding. She also served as host for UMass Boston’s first two ERASMUS+ faculty scholars from Poland and Lithuania and has been involved with local partnerships, initiating the Rare Books Exhibition Partnership with Boston Public Library and developing a new partnership with 826Boston to establish a Writer’s Room at the Jeremiah E. Burke Boston Public High School.

Cheryl Nixon currently serves as a nationally elected councilor, Arts and Humanities Division, for the National Council for Undergraduate Research, as a steering committee member for the Northeast Public Humanities Consortium, and as an invited member on the Boston Public Library Trustees Special Collections Committee.

In 2022, Cheryl Nixon was appointed President of Berea College.