Eric Carl Link joined the University of Houston Downtown as Provost, Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, and Professor of American Literature, in January 2019. In his role as Provost, he manages the academic affairs, student affairs, and enrollment management operations of—and provides administrative leadership for—a university of 15,000 students with five colleges, seven hundred and fifty full and part-time faculty members, and fifty unique degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Provost Link has served on the administrative teams of several universities. Prior to coming to the University of Houston Downtown, he served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Purdue University Fort Wayne, and before that he served as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Chair of the Department of English at the University of Memphis. He also served as the Head of the Department of Language and Literature at North Georgia College and State University, in addition to a variety of other administrative roles.
Provost Link earned his Ph.D. in American literature from Purdue University. An internationally recognized and award winning teacher and scholar, Dr. Link’s teaching and research fields span the field of American literature, with specializations in both 19th-Century American Literature and Science Fiction. He is the author or co-author of four books, including The Vast and Terrible Drama: American Literary Naturalism in the Late Nineteenth Century (2004), Understanding Philip K. Dick (2010), Neutral Ground: New Traditionalism and the American Romance Controversy (1999), and Crosscurrents: Reading in the Disciplines (2012). In addition, he is the editor or co-editor of six volumes, including The Cambridge History of Science Fiction (2019), The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction (2015), Taming the Bicycle: Essays, Stories, and Sketches by Mark Twain (2009), and two volumes for the Critical Insights series (one on Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage (2010), and one on Herman Melville (2012)), and he is the co-editor, with Donald Pizer, of the Norton Critical Edition of The Red Badge of Courage (2008). He also founded and edited, with Steve Frye, the journal ALN: The American Literary Naturalism Newsletter. Aside from these volumes, Dr. Link has published over fifty essays on topics ranging across the field of American literary studies. His scholarship has won multiple awards, and in Spring 2015 he was presented with the Distinguished Research Award in Humanities from the University of Memphis. He was also named the Distinguished Professor of Teaching and Learning at North Georgia College in 2007, where he held an endowed chair from 1999-2008.
Provost Link has twice served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar, most recently at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland (2012), and before that in Lutsk, Ukraine, where he taught American literature and consulted on program and curriculum development at Lesya Ukrainka Volyn National University (2008). He has also lectured and presented on a variety of research topics at universities in China, Iceland, and England.
With a life-long commitment to the mission of the modern university, Dr. Link has been a strong advocate for the ongoing vitality of higher education in the United States. His vision for higher education is rooted in this conviction, and through an administrative career spanning nearly thirty years he has worked side-by-side with faculty, staff, and students to provide quality academic programming, innovative student-centered educational experiences, and strong ties with local and regional communities.
Provost Link lives in the greater Houston area with his wife, Dr. Laura Link, a professor of education in the University of Houston Downtown Department of Urban Education. They have four children—Sarah, Nathaniel, Natalie, and Nolan—and a rescue dog named Lexi.