Jennifer Cognard-Black earned her B.A. in English and music, summa cum laude, Phi Kappa Phi, from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1991, an M.A. in fiction and essay writing, with honors, from Iowa State University in 1994, and her Ph.D. in 19th-Century Anglo-American Literature, with honors, from The Ohio State University in 1999. She serves as department chair and professor of English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), a public honors college.
Cognard-Black was named a 2020 Senior Fulbright Scholar to the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She also was a Fulbright Scholar to University of Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2012. She has served as Faculty-in-Residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and as Artist-in Residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. She has received 12 faculty development grants from SMCM as well as two Internationalization and Teaching & Learning Grants (2011 and 2016), and she has twice been given the highest honor for teaching that SMCM students bestow, the Faculty-Student Life Award (2002 and 2009).
Cognard-Black has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles, teaching guides, book reviews and critical and creative works, including edited collections of food writing and personal essays as well as a monograph and a writing textbook. Two short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her interest areas include women writers, images of women in popular culture, literatures of food, the novel, Victorian adaptations and Gothic monsters. Her books include “Narrative in the Professional Age” (2004); “Kindred Hands” (2006); “Advancing Rhetoric” (2006); “Books that Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal” (2014); and “From Curlers to Chainsaws: Women and Their Machines” (2016). With The Great Courses, Cognard-Black produced a lecture series on "Becoming a Great Essayist" (2016) and has another forthcoming in 2019 on "Great American Short Stories."