Time and again, Professor Raitt has pioneered genuinely innovative and exciting initiatives to incorporate undergraduate research into the curricula and helped to establish new standards for undergraduate scholarship. This semester she is introducing students in her upper-level class on Divorce and the British Victorian and Edwardian Novel to primary research on legislation and newspaper coverage of divorce laws in Britain. Students write, for example, three reports on specific divorce cases, related laws, and newspaper coverage, underscoring the contextual background of marriage and divorce in British literature and the links to be traced between literary representations and law.
Professor Raitt regularly serves as an adviser to senior Honors theses and served as director of the English Department's Honors Program (2001-03). As director of the Women's Studies Program (2004-08) she developed a substantial record of introducing community-based components into the curriculum and secured a three-year campus grant to devise a research project for the Women's Studies' introductory seminar. Accordingly, since 2007, students have researched and completed projects including a campaign associated with cancer survivors, fund-raising for a memorial to the first class of women students at William and Mary, and founding an advocacy group for students with children.
For her work in fostering undergraduate research at William and Mary and integrating her own scholarship and teaching to a degree that is highly unusual at any institution of higher education, it is fitting that Professor Raitt be recognized with the Arts & Sciences 2012 Jennifer and Devin Murphy Faculty Award.