Central Penn College - Melissa Wehler

Central Penn College


Faculty Who Care

Melissa Wehler, Ph.D.
Professor, English, Dean of Humanities and Sciences

Academic Bio

Melissa Wehler serves as the Dean of Humanities and Sciences. She received her doctorate from Duquesne University in English focusing on eighteenth-century British and transatlantic theatre, drama and literature. Her publications include book chapters in various edited collections, including “‘Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky’: Neil Gaiman’s Extraordinarily Ordinary Coraline,’” in A Quest of Her Own: The Female Hero in Modern Fantasy, “The Haunted Transatlantic Libertine: Edmund Kean’s American Tour” in Transnational Gothic: Literary and Social Exchanges in the Long Nineteenth Century, and “Revising Ophelia: Representing Madwomen in Baillie's Orra and Witchcraft” in Demons of the Body and Mind: Essays on Disability in Gothic Literature. She has also published book reviews and presented scholarship at various conferences on literature and teaching.

Personal Bio

I am a lifelong student of popular culture, especially television and film, which I share with my partner, Matthew, and look forward to one day sharing with my young son, Cillian. When Pennsylvania winters are not trapping us indoors with our two chihuahuas, we can be found exploring, hiking and photographing the many wonderful state parks in central Pennsylvania.

Teaching Philosopy

As an undergraduate, I spent much of my time in and out of class studying Tibetan Buddhism and the history and legacy of the sherpa people have always stuck with me. On the first day of class, I tell students that I am more like their sherpa than their professor since my role is to guide them through the world of writing and thinking rather than to expose information. Students in my courses are challenged to come with me on that journey through participation, discussion and peer review because as we climb academic mountains, often all we have is one another.


  • Todd A. Milano Award for Excellence in Teaching, Central Penn College, 2014
  • College of Liberal Arts Dissertation Fellowship, Duquesne University, 2011-2012
  • University Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching, Duquesne University, 2011
  • S. Eric Molin Prize for Best Conference Paper by a Graduate Student East Central/ 
  • Conference Travel Grant, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS), 2011
  • Eighteenth Century Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (EC/ASECS), 2011
  • Humanities and Social Sciences Grant, Carnegie Mellon University, 2006-2007


  • Doctorate of Philosophy in English - Duquesne University '13
  • Master of Art in Literary and Cultural Studies - Carnegie Mellon University '07
  • Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology - Pennsylvania State University '05
  • Bachelor of Arts in English - Pennsylvania State University '05


  • Teaching Certificate - Duquesne University '12 
  • Advanced Teaching Certificate - Duquesne University '12 
  • Graduate Certificate - Women's and Gender Studies - Duquesne University '13


  • College Writing Skills 
  • English Composition I 
  • English Composition II 
  • Selected Topics in Film (Documentary films, Race and gender)
  • Cultural Anthropology