Marnie C Jones


Center for Community-Based Learning • Academic Affairs Division

Areas of Expertise

19th and 20th Century Literature, Religion and Culture, Young Adult and Children's Literature.


Ph.D., Northwestern University, English, 1983

M.A., Northwestern University, English, 1979

B.A., Gettysburg College, 1975.


Dr. Marnie Jones is Professor of English at the University of North Florida, where she has been on the faculty for the past thirty years. She has spent fourteen years serving in administrative positions that emphasized her commitment to transformational student learning. What Marnie enjoyed most about both administrative positions was the opportunity to collaborate with students and faculty to expand opportunities to apply classroom learning to the world. As Honors Director (1993-2001), Dr. Jones was responsible for growing the program in both scale and curriculum. While inaugurating many features now central to Honors at UNF—a High Ropes Honors Orientation, community-based experiential learning, service learning, scholarship-supported short-term international opportunities, semester-long Washington internships and assessment of student learning—Honors grew from admitting 20 to 200 students each year. UNF Honors students devoted 40,000 hours of community service in academic courses between 1996 and 2000. The International component initiated during Marnie’s tenure as Honors Director included trips, often integral to an honors seminar, to Coasta Rica, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, China, Ireland, Italy, England, and Ghana. That last trip was foundational for the on-going Ghana Project that integrated the Honors Program with The Brooks College of Heath and The College of Engineering an Computer Science. More recently, Marnie co-taught two linked courses with her husband Buzz Thunen (Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work), “Stones and Crosses,” that took students to Scotland and northern England to study the material culture of Celtic Christianity.


As Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (2006-2012) her most fulfilling task was working with faculty across all five colleges at UNF to make General Education meaningful. Over the course of several years more than 50 faculty were involved in the process of designing and then offering courses in Venture Studies, seminars for first and second year students to demonstrate the value of community based learning. The program was named in honor of the original interdisciplinary curriculum UNF offered when the University opened. Both programs were short-lived. The 21st century incarnation of Venture Studies ended when the state intervened in what “counted” as General Education credit. Administrative work is certainly not all fun: Marnie had the responsibility over the years of writing four different Program Reviews: two for Honors and two for General Education.


Dr. Jones’ scholarship includes Holy Toledo: Religion and Politics in the Life of ‘’Golden Rule Jones as well as numerous articles and conference presentations on wide ranging topics including the intersection of religion and culture, literature in cultural context and issues related to enhancing teaching and learning. Several of her publications have emerged from her teaching. Her current book project has been deeply informed by the CBTL course “Reading Matters” in which UNF students work with kids in an impoverished school as well as her courses in Children’s Literature and Young Adult Literature.


Marnie’s first introduction to the power of transformational learning took place at Gettysburg College, where she had the opportunity to spend a semester in London studying theater. That led to a job with People’s Light and Theatre, a regional equity company, outside Philadelphia where the high point of her career as an actor was playing the role of Peter in Peter Pan. Marnie decided she might rather struggle to earn a living in academia rather than in theater and earned her Ph.D. in English at Northwestern University.


International Leadership Award, 2015
UNF Community Scholars Fellow, 2010
John Frances Reilly Fellowship for Irish Studies, 2001
Teaching Incentive Program, State University System Teaching Award, 1993
Phi Kappa Phi, 1993
College of Art and Science, Teaching Award, 1990
Phi Beta Kappa, 1975.


Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association
American Conference of Irish Studies
National Collegiate Honors Conference
American Academy of Religion
Modern Language Association

Grants and Contracts Awarded

AAC&U “Making Excellence Inclusive” Institute, 2010
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar: “The Church and Society in the 19th
Century,” The Graduate Theological Union, University of California, Berkeley, 1992
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1988-1989
TSI Research Seed Grants, University of North Florida, 1996 & 1997
Northwestern University, Research Travel Grant, 1981-1982
Northwestern University Dissertation Year Fellowship, 1981-1982

Publications & Presentations

  • “Why we can't let her go: Re-imagining Jane Austen in the 21st Century,” Southern Regional Popular Culture/American Culture Conference, Wilmington, North Carolina, October 2015. 
  • “Weaving from the Middle: Institutionalizing Civic and Community Engagement through the Departments” (with Mark Falbo, Elizabeth Fullerton, Heather Burk and Marcia Ladendorff), American Association of Universities and Colleges Conference, San Diego, October 2011.
  • “Wicked Symmetry: The Dangerous Compulsion of Attraction in Twilight and Ziska (with graduate student Jacob Lusk), National Popular Culture/American Culture Conference, St. Louis, April 2010.
  • “ ‘Spiritual Warfare’ and Intolerance in Popular Culture: The Left Behind Franchise, the Commodification of Belief, and the Consequences for Imagination.” Studies in Popular Culture 31.1 (Fall 2009): 1-19.
  • “C. S. Lewis in the Age of the Internet: from ‘God’s Storyteller’ to ‘Satan’s Tool’ (with undergraduate student Lauren McAllister), National Popular Culture/American Culture Conference, New Orleans, April 2009. 
  • “The Threat to Imagination in Children’s Literature: Harry Potter and the Kids Left Behind.” The International Journal of the Book 3 (2006): http//
  • “Has the Book Got a Pulse? Life Beyond the ‘Terminal’ Diagnosis,” International Conference on the Book,” Boston, October 2006.
  • “Trials and Tribulations: Blurring Boundaries in Children’s Literature,” International Conference on the Book,” Oxford, England, September 2005.
  • “Being Henry James: Colm Toibin’s The Master,” Southern Region, American Conference of Irish Studies Conference, Houston, February 2005.
  • “Re-Imagining Christianity: The Irish Theology of Place,” Southern Region, American Conference of Irish Studies Conference, Atlanta, March 2004. 
  • “Exploring a Dangerous World From a Safe Place: Lessons from the Oklahoma City National Memorial,” Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Honolulu, January 2003.
  • “ ‘The Soul in Paraphrase’: Fiction and Theology of Kate O’Brien,” American Conference of Irish Studies,” New York, June 2001.
  • “‘The long, hidden life of perfection’: Interior Struggles in the Work of Kate O’Brien,” Southern Region, American Conference of Irish Studies Conference, Jacksonville, February 2001.
  • “Assessing Student Learning through Honors Portfolios,” National Collegiate Honors Council Conference, Washington D.C., 2000.
  • “Sustaining a Learning Community,” Southern Regional Honors Council Conference, Savannah, 1999.
  • Holy Toledo: Religion and Politics in the Life of ‘Golden Rule’ Jones. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1998.
  • “An ‘Unsuitable Job’ for Anyone: The ‘Filthy Trade’ in P. D. James” with Barbara Barker, 137-148. In Jerome H. Delamater and Ruth Prigozy, Theory and Practice of Detective Fiction, New York: Greenwood, 1997.
  • “Internationalizing the Curriculum through Short-term Study Abroad Options.” National Collegiate Honors Council Conference, Atlanta, October 1997.
  • “Experiential Learning on the Edge: Utilizing Your Environment to Create Honors Seminars” with Honors students, National Collegiate Honors Council Conference, San Francisco, November 1996.
  • “Anthony Trollope.” In The Encyclopedia of British Humorists, edited by Steven H. Gale, 2: 1141-1152. New York: Garland Publishing, 1996.
  • “Hurricanes, Traffic, Wet Grass & Bugs: Experiential Learning on the Florida-Georgia Coast.” The National Honors Report (Fall 1995): 46-49. Reprinted in The Best of the National Honors Report (Winter 1999).
  • “Death at Disney,” with Jason Mauro and Honors Students, National Collegiate Honors Council Conference, Pittsburgh, 1995.
  • “Creating an Effective Honors Orientation with a High Ropes Course,” with Honors students, National Collegiate Honors Council Conference, San Antonio, November 1994.
  • “Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Doctrine as Municipal Policy: The Case of Rule’ Jones’ Toledo, Ohio, 1897-1904,” American Academy of Religion, Washington, D. C., November 1993.
  • “William Jennings Bryan,” “Eugene Debs,” and “Elizabeth Gaskell.” In St. James Guide to Biography, edited by Paul E. Schellinger, 95-97, 199-201, 303-304. Chicago: St. James Press, 1991.
  • “Disposing of the Body.” Review of Recognizing Biography, by William Epstein, The American Scholar, 59. 3 (Summer 1989): 459-464.
  • “Samuel Jones’ Business Reforms.” Northwest Ohio Business Hall of Fame Award Ceremony, Toledo, Ohio, May 1989.
  • “Before Pollsters and ‘Sound Bites’: The 1897 Election of ‘Golden Rule’ Jones.” Toledo Magazine (Cover Story, December 18, 1988): 1 -12.
  • “Toledo’s ‘Golden Rule’ Mayor: The Popular Side of Progressivism,” South Atlantic Modern Language Association, Washington, D.C., November 1988.
  • “Writing Great-Grandfather’s Biography.” The American Scholar, 56. 4 (Autumn 1987): 519-534.
  • “Telling His Own Story: Henry James’s William Wetmore Story.” Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, 10. 3 (Summer 1987): 241-256.
  • “The Hidden Autobiography in Virginia Woolf’s Roger Fry,” Autobiography and Biography: Gender, Text and Context, Stanford University, April 1986.
  • “Henry James’ The Bostonians: Filmed for a Victorian Audience,” Gender: Literary and Cinematic Representation, Florida State University, February 1986.
  • “Artful Lying: Novelists as Biographers.” The New Criterion, 2.6 (February1984): 31-41.
  • “George Smith's Influence on The Life of Charlotte Bronte.” Bronte Society TransactionsHaworth, England, Part 94. 18.4 (1984): 279-285.
  • “Her Own Story,” Review of Vanessa Bell, by Frances Spalding, The American Scholar, 54.1 (Winter 1984): 129-133.


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