Denhard headshotDr. Rosanne Fleszar Denhard

Professor, English/Communications


About Me: Why I Do What I Do

Through my work I can communicate the joy and solace found in the narratives of the past. I believe that—across time and space and all that divides people—there are human expressions that transcend these divisions, or at least make them comprehensible, in ways that illuminate something of the human experience. We can't access the past without understanding history and culture, so the study of context is vital. Ultimately, it's all about human stories: complex, interwoven, changing, repeating...a continuum. As a teaching scholar, I value interdisciplinarity, continued research, and collaboration. My projects are always of direct relevance to my work with students.

About My Teaching Style

Teaching Style-DenhardMy classes are active and discussion-oriented. Interdisciplinarity is vital to my work. Students ask questions and seek answers both independently and as part of a community of learners. Over the years, MCLA has consistently maximized my ability to help students achieve success and to take away something lasting for their continued use and benefit. My students explore literary studies in ways they might not have experienced before—experimenting with literature in performance; learning the arts and culture of Britain "live" through the Arts of Medieval and Renaissance Britain travel course; polishing their research projects for presentation at the MCLA Undergraduate Research Conference, Massachusetts Statewide Undergraduate Research Conference and COPLAC Regional Undergraduate Conference; collaborating in projects such as the Margaret Cavendish Performance Project with Prof. Gweno Williams at York St. John University, UK and with master teachers at Shakespeare's Globe; and using technology in a student-designed class website for the Arts of Medieval and Renaissance Britain course and the production of videotaped literature-in-performance programs. This sort of engaged and "hands on" collaborative learning is so rewarding for students and also opens new insights for me into teaching and learning.

Mentoring Undergraduate Research

Mentoring-DenhardThe sharing of work is key to the academic process in all disciplines. Students have opportunities to do this in the classroom, but participating in an undergraduate research conference is a different experience. When students share their research and other academic and artistic work in a conference setting, they become part of the larger conversation in their fields of study and they also reach others outside of their immediate focus area. This is a factor in making our students better prepared for graduate school and for their future careers.

Back to Britain in 2016 with the Arts of Medieval & Renaissance Britain class—and already planning for 2018!

During the Spring 2016 semester, the Arts of Medieval & Renaissance Britain class traveled to England again during Spring Break for the travel component of this full-semester course. The course is a cross-listed offering of the English/Communications Department and the Honors Program. Cambridge-DenhardWe participate in a wide variety of activities, all tuned to the course's interdisciplinary arts focus on the wide historical span of the medieval through Renaissance periods in British cultural history. The course uses literary texts as a base, but moves into a much wider sense of interdisciplinary learning. Music, painting, theatre, dance, architecture—we experience all of these in addition to reading poetry and prose of the periods we're exploring. The students travel to put all the pieces of this gigantic historical and cultural puzzle together. They're well prepared to make connections to further their learning in quite sophisticated ways. The best students take full positive advantage of this. Each student completes a major research project—which has the option of incorporating creative work—developed in consultation with me. In recent years, a number of students have moved beyond classroom presentations to present their final projects at our campus-wide URC, the Statewide Commonwealth URC, and the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) Regional URC.

Read more about the Travel Course: Arts of Med/Ren. Britain.

Representative Conference Presentations

Presentation Title: “Shakespeare Studies in the Undergraduate Classroom: Performance & Context”
Venue: World Shakespeare Congress 2016 (quinquennial): Global Shakespeare: Creating and Re-Creating Shakespeare, sponsored by International Shakespeare Association, Stratford-Upon-Avon and London, England
Date: August 2016

Presentation Title: “Time Travel: Teaching Early Modern Women in European Study Abroad Programs,” in collaboration with Dr. Susan Hrach of the University of Georgia-Columbus.
Venue: Attending to Early Modern Women Conference (triennial), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Date: June 2015

Presentation Title: "Mapping New Routes for the Undergraduate Study of Early Modern Women: Collaboration, Interdisciplinarity, Research, and Academic Travel," with former MCLA Associate Professor of Fine and Performing Arts Dawn Shamburger
Venue: Attending to Early Modern Women Conference (triennial), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Date: June 2012

Presentation Title: "From Continental Exile to The Convent of Pleasure: Undergraduate Student Explorations of Margaret Cavendish's Textual & Material Self-Fashioning
 r denhardVenue: International Margaret Cavendish Society's Biennial Conference, University of Ghent, Belgium
Date: July 2011

Presentation Title: “Learning through Performance: An Approach to the Undergraduate Study of The Convent of Pleasure
Venue: International Margaret Cavendish Society Conference, University of Sheffield, England
Date: July, 2007

Presentation Title: “Early Modern Education: (Men) Teaching Women in Europe and the New World,” with Prof. Deborah Uman, St. John Fisher College & Belen Bistue, U California-Davis
Venue: Early Modern Women Symposium, Center for Renaissance and Baroque Studies, University of Maryland at College Park
Date: November, 2006

Presentation Title: “Bathsua Makin’s Essay to Revive the Antient Education of Gentlewomen and the Writing of Four Early Modern Women.”
Venue: “Still Kissing the Rod?” Conference on Early Modern Women’s Writing in 2005, St. Hilda’s College, Oxford University, England
Date: July 2005

Publication Forthcoming in 2016

“Active Learning through Academic Travel, Research, & Collaboration: The Arts of Medieval & Renaissance Britain Travel Course.” Book chapter in Study Abroad: Traditions, Directions, and Innovations. Ed. Miriam Fuchs, Yves Louseau, and Sarita Rai. Modern Language Association.


My work has been recognized by the MCLA Faculty Association's Senior Faculty Award (2009); Faculty Creative Project Award, for film project documenting my methods of teaching Shakespeare (2007); and the Senior Class Faculty Appreciation Award (2006).


Contact Information

Office: Mark Hopkins, 103-C



Office Hours

Spring 2018 Office Hours:

Mondays 2pm-3pm
Tuesdays 10:30am-Noon
Thursdays 1:30pm-2pm & 4pm-4:30pm
and by appointment



Ph.D., State University of New York-Albany

M.A., College of St. Rose

B.A., College of St. Rose


Areas of Teaching, Scholarship, & Special Projects

Medieval and Early Modern/ Renaissance British literature and interdisciplinary arts and culture; literature in performance; life-writing; pedagogy; undergraduate research; critical heritage & literary theory.


Courses Taught & Most Recent Semester

Honr 550: Commonwealth Scholar Thesis Research Supervision (Spring 2016)

Engl 500: Independent Study (Spring 2016)

Engl 493: Teaching Assistant Supervision (Spring 2016)

Engl 451: British Literary Survey (Spring 2016)

Engl 372/Honr372: Arts of Medieval & Renaissance Britain (travel course) (Spring 2016)

Engl 351: William Shakespeare (Spring 2016)

Engl 490: Senior Seminar: Life-Writing (Fall 2015)

Engl 441: Advanced Shakespeare (Fall 2015)

Engl 250: Introduction to Literature (Fall 2015)

Engl 441: Medieval & Renaissance English Drama (Spring 2015)

Engl 349: Critical Reading (Spring 2015)

Engl 377: Novels in Context (Fall 2014)

Engl 368/368H: Age of Milton (Fall 2014)

Engl 366: Age of Chaucer (Fall 2013)

Honr 210: Director’s Book Course (Spring 2013)


My Fall 2016 Sabbatical Highlights

R Denhard Cambridge

Summer was a prelude to my Fall Semester 2016 sabbatical activities, which included research travel to England.  My August seminar presentation in London for the World Shakespeare Congress focused on Teaching Shakespeare through Performance.  Some of my other WSC activities included attending plenary sessions at Shakespeare’s Globe and participation in a performance workshop.  While in London, I did independent study
at the British Library in conjunction with the “Shakespeare in Ten Acts” exhibition.  I also kept up with current Shakespeare productions, as well as seeing other important plays relevant to my work with British literature. 
I plan to incorporate outgoing Globe Artistic Director Emma Rice’s extraordinary production of A Midsummer
Night’s Dream
, which I was fortunate to see onstage, into my Shakespeare class this semester.  I also devoted
time to both the Victoria & Albert Museum’s theatre collection and to an exhibition of medieval embroidery to extend my knowledge of historical textiles.  In November I observed rare performances of Milton’s “Comus” masque in the company of UK and US colleagues with whom I have collaborated.  Another sabbatical highlight was a day at the inaugural “In Light of Gloriana” interdisciplinary conference focused on Queen Elizabeth I at the Tower of London.  I’m back in the classroom and office now, and I am happy to report that my sabbatical time of reflection and scholarly activity will continue to enrich my work and lead me to new insights for my teaching practices and guidance of student research.