Program Directors

Program Director


Dr. David Wood serves as the Director of the NMU Honors Program, and also as Distinguished Professor of English. David came to NMU in 2007 to serve as a sixteenth-century literary scholar in the English Department, and he was thrilled to be appointed Director of NMU’s Honors Program in 2010.

“I first accepted this position because it seemed clear to me that the NMU Honors Program is uniquely situated to enhance the educational experience of those talented NMU students who want especially to be challenged academically. I have to say that it remains a thrill from day to day to play a role in doing so. In my work with our hugely supportive financial donors to the Honors Program, with the remarkable NMU faculty I invite to teach for the Program, and in my consistent interaction with our Honors students, I am reminded of just how much the NMU Honors Program provides one of the very best educational opportunities and values in all of Michigan. In brief: our Program offers NMU’s brightest students direct access to the very best professors we have teaching here,” he observed. “And since NMU generally places no doctoral students in their way, our Honors students can build extraordinarily productive, one-on-one working relationships with actual professors in their time here. Indeed, many of our NMU faculty-members are engaged in work associated with ongoing N.S.F. grants, or in comparably notable projects across a range of fields. Such faculty are always in need of bright and talented Honors students as research assistants, and the Honors Program accordingly does all it can to facilitate student achievement and to propel its graduates into the graduate programs and the first jobs that they desire.”  

Dr. Wood’s academic record involves experience teaching a range of literature courses from the early modern back through to the classical periods. His scholarly achievements include a monograph, Time, Narrative, and Emotion in Early Modern England (Ashgate, 2009), and, along with Allison P. Hobgood (Willamette University), the co-editing of two essay collections: Recovering Disability in Early Modern England (Ohio State UP, 2013); and Disabled Shakespeares (in the journal Disability Studies Quarterly, Fall 2009). His work has also appeared across a range of top journals in his field: from Shakespeare Yearbook to Renaissance Drama; from Interfaces to Prose Studies; and from Disability Studies Quarterly to Blackwell’s Literature-Compass Online. In addition, he has a passion for travel and has lived and taught in the People’s Republic of China; Fairbanks, Alaska; and West Lafayette, Indiana— at Purdue University, where he received his doctorate in 2004.

Dr. Wood’s teaching and research interests focus on the complexities involved in literary representations of the self in the drama, prose, and lyric poetry of the English sixteenth century; most recently he has narrowed his scholarly focus to explore the various representations of disabled selves in the period. Outside the classroom, his interests involve spending time with his wife, Vicki, their three children, Maddie, Henry, and Nate, and a funky tabby cat named Wedge. David also coaches a lot of soccer, spends his winters skiing and sledding, and can generally be found engaged in long walks and chilling swims along the glorious shores and bracing surf of Lake Superior.

Assistant Program Director

Michael JoyAfter a year of serving as Interim Director of the NMU Honors Program while Dr. Wood was on sabbatical for the 2013-2014 academic year, Dr. Michael Joy, Professor of Spanish, accepted the position of Assistant Director of the Honors Program.

Joy taught for four years at Carleton College and three years at Presbyterian College before his arrival at NMU in 2006. He holds a BA in Spanish from Carleton as well as an MA and PhD in Hispanic Literatures and Linguistics from the University of Minnesota. His area of research is the literature of the Spanish Golden Age (the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries). His most recent journal publication is entitled "Wrestling Miguel de Cervantes: (Golden-)Aged Heroes in Don Quijote and The Wrestler." His current research focus is centered on the cultural significance of games in general, and gambling in particular. More specifically, he looks at how gambling was depicted (not always in a negative light) by novelists and playwrights of Renaissance Spain; his most recent scholarly presentation was a talk on the use of gambling imagery by seventeenth-century playwright Antonio Mira de Amescua at the Congreso Internacional de Literatura y Estudios Hispánicos in Granada, Spain in June, 2018.

Joy has taught all levels of Spanish language, literature, and culture, as well as courses in the Honors Program and in NMU's First Year Experience program. In the fall of 2012 he was recognized with NMU's Excellence in Teaching award. He is a two-time winner (2014 and 2018) of NMU's Advisor of the Year award, for his work with the NMU Quiz Bowl team, which made it to the national championship tournament in 2014. He has also organized faculty-led study abroad programs in Guatemala, Mexico, and Spain.

Read Joy's biography on the website of the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. He can be reached via e-mail at, or by phone, 906-227-1818.