Bailey Van Hook, professor of art history in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of professor emerita by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The emerita title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in recognition of exemplary service to the university. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1988, Van Hook produced landmark scholarship through three books, many articles, and conference presentations that have shed new light on women as artists and women as subjects in American art, twice winning the College of Architecture and Urban Studies award for Distinguished Scholarship.

Over the course of her 31-year career, Van Hook integrated new disciplinary approaches to art history both in her teaching and her research, shifting the focus from the study of a small canon of well-known works to embracing the broader concepts of visual and material culture as a way to critique the past and present.

She had a significant impact on the intellectual development of many Virginia Tech students, bringing her knowledge of art history to approximately 10,000 students. She taught introductory courses on the history of western art from Renaissance to contemporary as well as upper level classes covering the art and material culture of the 18th through 21st centuries.

In 1996, Van Hook demonstrated her commitment to new technologies by teaching one of the first fully online classes at Virginia Tech, and very possibly the first online art history class in the country.

As a scholar and instructor, Van Hook was an advocate for diversity and inclusion. Her recent research brought a voice to an underrepresented female artist of the early 20th century, and within the art history program, she expanded the curriculum to propose and teach courses with a global view and outside of western culture. She also developed the Masters of Art degree in material culture and public humanities and successfully shepherded it through the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

As department head from 2001 to 2004, and again as interim director in 2011, Van Hook successfully led the School of Visual Arts’ move from the College of Arts and Sciences to the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. She also led the creation of a new and innovative cluster hire that integrated the arts and technology in a meaningful way for the first time on the Virginia Tech campus. The Collaborative for Creative Technologies in the Arts and Design evolved into the Institute for Creativity, the Arts, and Technology.

Van Hook received her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the City University of New York.

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