Faculty Profiles

About Faculty
Michon BensonDr. Michon Benson-Marsh is an Assistant Professor. She is a graduate of Jack Yates High School and long-time resident of Houston’s Third Ward community. Dr. Benson has been a secondary school teacher and an instructional leader for over 25 years. In 1990, Dr. Benson received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Studio Art, a Master’s degree in Rhetoric and Composition from Texas Southern University in 1996, and her PhD in African American Literature in 2007. As a Visiting Professor of English, Dr. Benson has earned excellent performance evaluations for her work in Freshman Composition and African American Literature courses. Additionally, Dr. Benson actively engages community service. On campus, she sponsors student-led organizations and mentors members of the Student Senate. Off-campus, she is a guest host on KCOH Radio show “Interchange” with Larry Payne. She serves on the advisory council of the Community Artists’ Collective. Dr. Benson’s most recent scholarship includes an essay in the Journal of the College Language Association, entitled “SOS – Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader” (2016), and she collaborates with a team of TSU Science professors as co-Project Investigator on an 2017-2020 HBCU-UP grant through the National Science Foundation. bensonma@tsu.edu | 713-313-7613
Dr. Alexis Brooks de VitaAlexis Brooks de Vita is a Professor of English with a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her areas of specialization include African/Diaspora and Supernatural Literature and Film (including Horror, Gothic and Science Fiction), Women’s Literature, Literary Criticism, Film Studies, and African/Diaspora mythical comparisons in English, French, Italian, and Spanish.  Dr. Brooks de Vita’s scholarly analyses of literature, film, gaming, slavery, sexism, and race relations in the United States are published in her books The 1855 Murder Case of Missouri versus Celia, an Enslaved Woman and Mythatypes:  Signatures and Signs of African, Diaspora and Black Goddesses as well as in journals and anthologies including The Griot, English Language Notes, The Maroon: Journal of Arts and Letters, Proverbium, Extrapolation, Lingua Cosmica:  Science Fiction from Around the World, Fourth Wave Feminism in Science Fiction and Fantasy,  Religious Practices and Ideology in the Works of Octavia Butler, Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora, and Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts.  Dr. Brooks de Vita's novels and translation of Dante's Inferno published by Double Dragon include Dante's Inferno:  A Wanderer in Hell as well as Left Hand of the Moon, The Books of Joy Trilogy: Burning Streams, Blood of Angels and Chain Dance.  Dr. Brooks de Vita’s short stories, memoirs and poetry are published in anthologies and collections including The Horror is Us, Candle in the Attic Window, Tales in Firelight and Shadow, Love and Darker Passions, Safari, Forced from the Garden, and I Have Consumed Destruction, published by Mason Jar Press, Innsmouth Free Press, Double Dragon, and Guild Press.  Her professional affiliations have included the College Language Association, National Association of African American Studies, International Association for the Fantastic in Arts, and National Research Council of Senior Ford Fellows, among others. Alexis.BrooksdeVita@tsu.edu | 713-313-6702
Dr. Charlene Taylor EvansCharlene Taylor Evans, Ph.D. Professor. As one of the senior members of the Department of English, I have thirty-five (35) years of experience at Texas Southern University, with seventeen (17) years in the classroom, and six (6) years as department head of English and foreign languages. I attained the rank of tenured professor and currently serve as director of the graduate program in English. I recently returned to the department after an eleven (11) year stint in central administration at the University. My administrative positions include executive assistant to the President, executive vice president, senior vice president of university relations, chief of staff, and ombudsperson; I managed various institutional units including athletics, information technology, marketing, and communications, development, external affairs, governmental relations, human resources, public safety, and alumni affairs. evans_ct@tsu.edu | 713-313-7094
Arbolina JenningsArbolina Jennings is Assistant Professor of English and Associate Director of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). She also serves as Co-Chair of the TSU Subcommittee on General Education. Professor Jennings is also involved with several committees of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). She teaches a variety of courses including Latin American Literature, World Literature, Mythology, and History and Theory of the English Language. Her scholarly work and publications are centered on Latin American fiction and fiction-film interrelationships. Professor Jennings is ABD for the Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at New York University, and she holds a M.A. in English (New York University), a M.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from New York University, and a Bachelor of Arts in English, French, and Spanish (Notre Dame College). Jennings_al@tsu.edu | 713-313-7661
Dr. Iris LancasterIris Lancaster is the Interim Chair and Assistant Professor of English. She holds a Ph.D. in Critical Literacy (Texas A & M) and a Master of Arts in English (Texas Southern University). Professor Lancaster teaches Composition and Rhetoric courses as well as American Literature. Her specialization area is American Literature, 1899-1946. Professor Lancaster’s publications include work in the collection, The Street: A Critical Response to Ann Petry and an article on composition, literature, and classical rhetoric in the Louisiana English Journal. Her memberships and affiliations include the Modern Language Association, National Council of Black Studies, and the College Language Association. Lancasterim@tsu.edu | 713-313-7653
Dr. Ronald C. SamplesRonald C. Samples is Associate Professor of English. He holds the Ph.D. in English (Rice University) and the Master of Arts in English (Texas Southern University). Professor Samples’ areas of specialization include the American Novel, American Literature to 1910, and the work of Henry James. He is a charter member of The Henry James Society and holds membership in many professional organizations to include the College Language Association, Southern Conference of African American Studies, Conference of College Teachers of English, among others. Professor Samples’ published work includes a text, By Precept and Example: An Illustrated Guide to Analysis and Composition. Samples_rc@tsu.edu | 713-313-7218
Dr. Michael SollarsMichael Sollars is Professor of English. He holds the Ph.D. in English from the University of Missouri in Kansas City. His specialization areas include modernism, literary theory, existentialism, aesthetics, and theater as literature. Professor Sollars is the editor of the two-volume, The Companion to the World Novel, 1900 to the Present and the five-volume, The Encyclopedia of Literary Characters. Prior to his academic career, Professor Sollars was a professional editor, writer, and publisher of medical journals.
Sollars_md@tsu.edu | 713-313-7957
Dr. Michael ZeitlerMichael Zeitler is Professor of English and holds the Ph.D. and Master of Arts in English (Johns Hopkins University). His area of specialization is British Literature. Professor Zeitler’s book publications include Representations of Culture: Thomas Hardy’s Wessex and Victorian Anthropology and an edited collection of essays on President Barack Obama. He has published essays in the following journals, among others—The Journal of Theory and Practice, Litera: A Journal of Western Literature, EAPSU Online: A Journal of Creative and Critical Work, and The Hardy Review. Professor Zeitler holds memberships in the Modern Language Association, Victorian Interdisciplinary Society of the Western United States, College English Association, College Language Association, John Steinbeck Society, and Conference of College Teachers of English, among others. Zeitlerma@tsu.edu | 713-313-7413