About Tonya J. Moutray

When Tonya Moutray first arrived on Russell Sage College’s Troy campus in 2006, her first thought was, “Wow, this is kind of a little gem here.”

Some 14 years later, it seems fair to say this little gem has made a big impact on Professor Moutray’s life. A professor of English, she’s director of the Kathleen A. Donnelly Center for Undergraduate Research and is the Honors Program director on the Troy Campus.

It’s the Honors Program that Professor Moutray points to when asked to recall an especially rewarding experience from her time here. In particular, she speaks of her collaboration with former Nursing faculty member Kathleen Buono (now at Albany Medical Center) and Nursing Department Chair Glenda Kelman.

Together, they created the course, “Ill-Behaved Women: Nursing and Literature.” The course explores the legacies of women who developed the profession of nursing alongside depictions of nurses in literature and popular culture. Some of the students from the course presented their research at the National Collegiate Honors Council conferences in 2016 and 2018.

“Teaching the course was a wonderful experience for me personally,” Professor Moutray says. “And it has continued to be a popular Honors seminar for all types of students, including students majoring in Psychology, Women’s Studies, Nutrition and Sociology. Sometimes Nursing or Health Science students don’t think there is room for them to pursue an Honors degree. At Sage, there is.”

Bringing this class to life allowed Professor Moutray to plug into the diverse range of academic interests she’s explored herself over the years. You see, she received her undergraduate degree in Cytology (and subsequently worked at medical laboratories in Loma Linda and Pasadena, California; Omaha, Nebraska; and Providence, Rhode Island) before going on to complete her master’s and doctorate in English Literature.

In other words, Professor Moutray understands how sometimes we arrive at where we are meant to be only after discovering where we aren’t meant to be.

At Sage, she feels free to continue her explorations.

“What I’ve appreciated so much about the college is the way the faculty are encouraged to create and design new areas of study,” Professor Moutray says. “For example, I’ve been able to introduce children’s literature, as well as young adult literature. So many of my colleagues are engaged in this way.”

Sage has also supported her research, which has brought her to conferences, libraries and archives in the U.K., Ireland and across the U.S.

Professor Moutray considers her time at the Chawton House Library in Hampshire, U.K., where she was awarded a month-long fellowship in 2017, the most memorable. Being immersed in the world of Jane Austen and the Regency Era, an author and time period that Professor Moutray regularly teaches, gave her a renewed enthusiasm to bring that experience to Sage students.

Professor Moutray hopes that students at Sage also take on opportunities to travel and learn more about their world. Honors students have the chance to push themselves, to travel and get to know other honors students from around the country.

The Honors program, in Professor Moutray’s view, is where the singular Sage educational experience may be most clearly on display.

“Because it’s much more than a collection of courses. It’s also a community. It’s where relationships are found. Our Honors students find their people here.”

“We also have an amazing group of alums,” Professor Moutray says. “Our students get access to them as well.”

Going back to that initial impression Professor Moutray had of Sage as a little gem, in the very beginning this was largely about the pretty and intimate campus setting. These days she admires the community she’s found in this cozy place.

To a prospective student, she would say:

“Sage is going to give you a very personalized education. You’re going to make deep friendships. And you’ll have access to some fairly renowned academic programs with big impacts in the community.”

That’s the kind of experience Professor Moutray has had. And it has wowed her.

Recent Courses Taught

Dr. Moutray teaches courses in 18th-21st-century British Literature, Children’s Literature and in the general education and Honors programs.

Distinctions & Awards

In 2017, she was a Visiting Fellow at the Chawton House Library in Hampshire, England, which houses Jane Austen’s family library, as well as an array of resources for scholars studying women’s writings in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

“Sage is going to give you a very personalized education. You’re going to make deep friendships. And you’ll have access to some fairly renowned academic programs with big impacts in the community.”

Tonya J. Moutray, Ph.D.

Professor of English; Director, Kathleen A. Donnelly Center for Undergraduate Research; Director, Honors Program

Selected Publications

Her book, Refugee Nuns, the French Revolution, and British Literature and Culture, was published in 2016 by Routledge Press.

She has published her research in periodicals such as European Romantic Review, Victorian Literature and Culture, and Studies in English Literature, 1500-1800.

Educational Background

PhD, University of Connecticut
English Literature
MA, University of Nebraska, Lincoln