Donna Lillian appointed associate dean of the App State College of Arts and Sciences

BOONE, N.C. — The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at Appalachian State University is pleased to announce that Dr. Donna Lillian has been appointed associate dean of CAS, effective March 1, 2024.

Associate Dean Lillian joined the Appalachian State Department of English in 2010 as an associate professor of linguistics. She has previously served as interim assistant chair for rhetoric and composition (spring 2020), interim assistant chair for English programs (spring 2019) and director of women’s studies (2010-13). Since January 2022, Lillian has served as interim associate dean of CAS.

Her scholarship encompasses three overlapping fields: discourse analysis, language and gender and onomastics (the study of names and naming patterns). She studies marital surname choices, use of Ms. as a courtesy title and names in literature. Formerly, she served as president of the American Name Society and as managing editor of WORD, the journal of the International Linguistic Association. She currently serves as president of the Canadian Society for the Study of Names and as interim editor of the association’s journal Onomastica Canadiana.

Lillian earned an undergraduate honors B.A. in linguistics from York University and a B.Ed. in junior/intermediate English from the University of Western Ontario. She earned a Ph.D. in English linguistics and stylistics from York University and an M.A. in linguistics from the University of Toronto. She also earned a certificate in employment mediation from Carolina Dispute Settlement Services. Prior to joining App State, Lillian served as associate chair in the Department of English at East Carolina University.

Related: App State College of Arts and Sciences welcomes interim associate dean for 2022-23


About the Department of English
The Department of English at Appalachian State University is committed to outstanding work in the classroom, the support and mentorship of students, and a dynamic engagement with culture, history, language, theory and literature. The department offers master’s degrees in English and rhetoric and composition, as well as undergraduate degrees in literary studies, film studies, creative writing, professional writing and English education. Learn more at

About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at Appalachian State University is home to 17 academic departments, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. CAS aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. More than 6,400 student majors are enrolled in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing App State’s general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at

By Lauren Gibbs and Ellen Burnette
May 8, 2024

Dr. Donna Lillian, associate dean of the Appalachian State University College of Arts and Sciences
Published: May 8, 2024 8:45am