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Meredith Malburne-Wade Named New Director of Undergraduate Research & Fellowship

The Division of Student Success (DSS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is proud to welcome Meredith Malburne-Wade as its new Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research & Fellowship (OURF). 

An esteemed professional with an impressive track record in fostering inclusive excellence and student development, Dr. Malburne-Wade most recently served as the Director of the Office of Student Awards, Initiatives, and Research (STAIR) as well as the Office of Fellowships and Awards (OFA) at James Madison University (JMU). 

Over the course of her career, Dr. Malburne-Wade has created and expanded fellowship and research offices, has grown the First-Year Research Experience (FYRE) Program, and has seen significant successes with student access to Goldwater, Boren, Gilman and Fulbright among others fellowship and scholarship opportunities. 

She is an experienced faculty member, grant writer and an accomplished author and scholarly contributor in Twentieth and Twenty-first Century American Literature and Drama including her book Revision as Resistance in Twentieth-Century American Drama. 

Dr. Malburne-Wade was a first-generation/low-income college student, and received her B.A. from Wellesley College, her M.A. from Georgetown University, and completed her Ph.D. in 20th Century American Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

She will start her position at UTK in mid-July. 

“Meredith is a rising star, said Dr. Pat Akos, Associate Vice Provost for Student Success and Executive Director of University Honors. “Everyone I talked to at her previous institutions raved about her. She will be a key leader maintaining and growing our fellowship success and expanding a culture of undergraduate research as a high-impact practice for new efforts like The Vol Edge.” 

“I was deeply impressed by UTK’s clear dedication to student advancement through research, engagement, and inquiry,” said Dr. Malburne-Wade. “I am excited to join the OURF team as we continue to build on the current successes while finding new ways to offer inclusive, challenging, and life-changing opportunities to UTK’s talented and dedicated student body. I am excited and grateful for the opportunity.” 

With an extensive background in directing offices dedicated to fellowships, awards, and research, Dr. Malburne-Wade’s expertise will undoubtedly contribute to empowering students in their scholarly pursuits within OURF. 

Her teaching experience at various institutions, including JMU, High Point University, Gettysburg College, Kutztown University, Elon University, and Harrisburg Area Community College, has actively contributed to students’ academic development and has fostered critical thinking and scholarly exploration among students. 

Having served as the Director of STAIR at JMU since 2022, Dr. Malburne-Wade successfully established and led a newly formed office dedicated to inclusive excellence. Her responsibilities encompassed overseeing the Office of Fellowships and Awards, Student Creative Activities and Research, and various other initiatives.  

Among her notable achievements was the management of the First-Year/Transfer Student Research Experience Program, which facilitated faculty-student collaborations for semester-long funded research experiences across campus.  

Prior to that role, Dr. Malburne-Wade held the role of Director of the Fellowships and Awards Office at JMU for three years. During her tenure, she managed an office that catered to over 22,000 undergraduate and graduate students while aligning with the mission of the Honors College and the Office of Research and Scholarship.  

Teaching interdisciplinary Honors courses and fellowships courses, Dr. Malburne-Wade also played a vital role in recruiting, mentoring, and advising applicants for numerous national and international awards. Her collaborative approach extended to building faculty and staff partnerships across departments and units. 

As the Founding Director of the Office of Fellowships and Awards at High Point University from 2016 to 2019, Dr. Malburne-Wade established and spearheaded the office’s operations where her efforts focused on recruiting and advising candidates for prestigious national and international awards.  

In addition, she engaged with faculty, student organizations, and college meetings to promote the significance of fellowships and awards. Her dedication to fostering a scholarly environment was evident in her active involvement in various committees and their representation of the university at national and international conferences. 

Beyond her professional positions, Dr. Malbunre-Wade has been actively engaged in university service, serving on numerous committees and advisory boards at James Madison University, High Point University, and Gettysburg College. She has chaired committees, participated in program development, and acted as a mentor and advisor to students.  

Her dedication to student success is also reflected in her involvement in various initiatives, such as the Fulbright Advisory Committee, Writing Center Advisory Board, and Fellowships Nomination Committee.”