James W. Hood ’79, Ph.D, began his service as Interim President of Guilford College on Feb. 23, 2021. An alumnus, Guilford parent, and esteemed member of the faculty since 1999, Jim was named Charles A. Dana Professor of English in 2019. He received tenure in 2001 and was promoted to full Professor in 2009.
A consummate liberal arts scholar, teacher, and practitioner, Jim’s areas of study include 19th-century British literature, nature writing, poetry, and woodworking and material culture. He has taught a wide range of courses in those areas while mentoring hundreds of students to thrive as responsible, globally engaged Guilford College graduates.
Jim has held a variety of leadership roles at Guilford, including Clerk of Faculty from 2018-20, Coordinator of the First Year Experience Program in 2012-13, Director of Study Abroad from 2006-11, Associate Academic Dean from 2001-04, and Coordinator of Planning in 2001-02. He also led the London Study Abroad Program in the fall of 2004.
Among numerous committee assignments, he served as chair of the Assessment Committee focused on the general education curriculum from 2015-17 and chair of the General Education Review Committee in 2014-15.
Jim has published various works on literary history, Quakerism, and pedagogy, including Divining Desire: Tennyson and the Poetics of Transcendence (2000); 'Novel Reading and Insanity': Nineteenth-Century Quaker Fiction Reading Practices, Quaker Studies (2018); "How to Teach About Nature While We Destroy It,” Chronicle of Higher Education (2017); and The Ecology of Quaker Meeting (2018).
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from Guilford, Jim earned a master of arts in Religion and Literature from Yale University Divinity School in 1981 and a doctorate in English from UNC Chapel Hill in 1991. He taught English at Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania from 1991-96 and Mars Hill College (now University) in Western North Carolina from 1996-98 before returning to Guilford as a professor in 1999.
He has served on the boards of Haw River Assembly and New Garden Friends School in Greensboro and on the Executive Committee for the Friends Association for Higher Education.
Jim is married since 1978 to Sara Beth Terrell ’77, a spiritual formation group leader whom he met in the Guilford College Choir. They have raised two Guilford graduates (Julia ’06 and Daniel ’11, who is married to Madeleine Straubel ’11). Julia, Manager of School and Family Learning at Reynolda House Museum of American Art, and Daniel, who received his Ph.D in History at Boston College and works at UNC Chapel Hill, are the sixth generation of their family to attend Guilford.