Beginning in July, 2011, Laura Gelfand will be the Head of the Departments of Art and Interior Design. From 2009-2011 Gelfand served as Associate Dean of the Honors College at The University of Akron where she joined the faculty as an assistant professor of art history in 1997. She was promoted to Professor of Art History in 2005.
Gelfand received her PhD from Case Western Reserve University in 1994, after earning an MA from Williams College and BA from SUNY at Stony Brook. Gelfand was named University of Akron Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2004. She has participated in two prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars for College Teachers, one in Paris and the other in Cambridge, UK.
Her scholarly work centers on art created in Northern Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. She has published widely on a number of topics including devotional portrait diptychs, Margaret of Austria, the Chartreuse de Champmol in Dijon, sensory simulacra, and imaginative pilgrimage. She is co-editor of two volumes, published in 2011 by the Dutch publisher Brill, entitled Push Me, Pull You. These books include 32 essays on physical and emotional or imaginary forms of interaction with devotional objects during the medieval period. She has presented her research at numerous national and international conferences as well as organizing several symposia and chairing many sessions.
She has participated in several leadership training experiences including The University of Akron’s Academic Leadership Forum in 2008-9, the HERS Institute in Denver 2010, and she is a Founding Fellow of the Executive Leadership Academy, UC Berkeley, 2011.