Dr. Linda Strong-Leek

Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion;
Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and General Studies

At Berea College since 2002

Contact Information

Lincoln, Room 320
Phone: 859-985-3486
E-Mail: linda_leek@berea.edu
CPO 2204

Office Hours

If you must make an appointment with Linda, please contact Susan Vaughn (859-985-3489).


  • B.A., North Carolina Central University, 1988
  • M.A., North Carolina Central University, 1990
  • Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1994


  • Classic Texts in Women’s Studies
  • Stories
  • Arts in Context
  • Freshman Composition
  • Literary Analysis
  • Approaches to Literature
  • African American Literature to 1865
  • African American Literature 1865-Present
  • Black Women in the Diaspora
  • Major African American Women Writers
  • Major African American Male Writers
  • Caribbean Women Writers
  • Major African Writers
  • African American Women Writers
  • Black Women Writers in the 19th Century
  • The Slave Narrative
  • Introduction to African Writers
  • African American Short Story
  • Twentieth Century African American Literature

Special Interests

  • African-American Literature
  • African Literature
  • Caribbean Literature
  • Black Women in the Diaspora
  • African American History and Culture
  • Womanism/Africana Feminism
  • Diaspora Women’s Literature
  • Women’s Studies

Papers and Publications

  • Excising The Spirit: A Literary Analysis of Female Circumcision. Published by Africa World Press, 2009.
  • Winds of Change: The Transforming Voices of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars. London, Peter Lang Press, 1998. Edited with Adele S. Newson.
  • bell hooks, Carter G. Woodson, and African American Education. Journal of Black Studies, July 2008: 38:850-861
  • “Emerging Womanism in the Works of Tsitsi Dangarembga, Barbara Mahkalisa, and J. Nozipo Mararire.” In African Literature Association Conference Proceedings: Fall 2001. Edited by Edris Makward, Mark Lilleleht, and Ahmed Saber. Lawrenceville, NJ: Africa World Press, 2002.
  • “Emerging Womanism in the Works of Zimbabwean Women Writers. In Indigenous Knowledge and Technology in African and Diasporan Communities. Edited by E. M. Chiwome, Z. Mguni, and Munashe Furusa. Southern African Association for Culture and Development Studies, University of Zimbabwe, Harare: 2000, pp. 201-214.”
  • “Inverting the Institutions: Ama Ata Aidoo’s No Sweetness Here. In Emerging Perspectives on Ama Ata Aidoo. Edited by Gay Wilentz and Ada Uzoamaka Azodo. Lawrenceville, NJ: Africa World Press, 1998, pp. 145-55.”
  • “Reading as A Woman: Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Feminist Criticism.” African Studies Quarterly, 5(2): 2 [online] Fall 2001.
  • “The Quest for Spirituality and Sexuality in the Novels of Flora Nwapa.” In Flora Nwapa–Emerging Perspectives. Edited by Marie Umeh. Lawrenceville, NJ: Africa World Press, 1998, pp.531-548.


Linda Strong-Leek was appointed the first Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Berea College on July 1, 2015. In this role, she works closely with the President and Dean of the Faculty, as well as all other Vice Presidents at Berea College, as they consider how to make Berea College more inclusive and welcoming for all members of the community.

Dr. Strong-Leek also currently serves as the Provost. In this capacity, she works closely with the directors of the Carter G. Woodson Center for Interracial Education, the Black Cultural Center, the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, the Francis and Louise Hutchins Center for International Education, the Center for Excellence in Learning through Service, and the Child Development Laboratory.

Before joining the Berea College Women’s and Gender Studies faculty, Dr. Strong-Leek taught in the English Department at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. She is a Fulbright Scholar who spent one year teaching at the University of Zimbabwe, Harare, where she offered the first course in the University dedicated exclusively to African Women Writers. She has published articles on major African writers, including Chinua Achebe, Flora Nwapa, and Ngugi wa Thiongo. Her book, Excising the Spirit: A Literary Analysis of Female Circumcision, (2009, Africa World Press) focuses on the work of Alice Walker, Fauziya Kassindja, Flora Nwapa, and others who have explored, through a literary lens, the very complex and multi-dimensional issues related to “female circumcision (or female genital mutilation).” She is currently at work on a manuscript about the Mami Wata figure in the novels of contemporary Caribbean Women Writers.

Dr. Strong-Leek has traveled abroad extensively, particularly in the Caribbean and Africa. She also enjoys traveling with students, and has, in conjunction with other Berea College faculty and staff, traveled with students to Ghana and Jamaica.

Dr. Strong-Leek graduated from North Carolina Central University with a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English and Educational Administration (1988 and 1990, respectively). She received her Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University in 1994.