Marjorie Garber, a Shakespearean scholar and professor of English at Haverford college, will become the English Department's only full-time tenured woman professor next fall.
The appointment makes Garber the third woman to be appointed an English professor in the last six months and one of a dozen tenured women at Harvard.
Garber said yesterday that, although she is aware that students have criticized Harvard for lacking enough tenured women and minorities, she did not believe that she was offered the position because of her gender.
"I don't think my being a female had anything to do with their decision, and I would hope that my credentials are enough to speak for me," Garber said yesterday.
She added, however, that she hoped the English Department would tenure more women and said that she would work to bring more women into the department.
"I certainly don't want Harvard to hire women simply because of their gender," Garber said, "but I'd like to see the English department carry out a more thorough search to uncover the many fully-qualified female scholars."
Two other women, Helen H. Vendler and Barbara K. Lewalski, are tenured in the English department but neither teaches English at Harvard full time. Vendler is a visiting professor who divides her teaching duties between Harvard and Boston University and Lewalski is also a professor in the History and Literature department.
Several English professors said yesterday that Garber's gender was not a factor in her appointment.
"The fact that she is a woman is an added bonus," Walter J. Kaiser '54, professor of English and Comparative Literature, said yesterday, adding that "we would not have hired her if she was not a first rate scholar."
Garber was an assistant professor of English at Yale University before accepting a full professorship at Haverford in 1976. The "Yale Course Critique," an undergraduate students publication, voted Garber one of the ten best teachers at Yale in 1974.
"Harvard is very lucky to get her because she is one of those rare professors who is really accessible to her students." A. Dwight Cullen, professor of English at Yale, said yesterday. He added that "her classes were always the largest and most popular."
Walter Jackson Bate, chairman of the English department yesterday, called Garber "one of the most famous teachers of literature in the country and an inspiring lecturer." He added that she would teach a graduate course on teaching literature.
Garber will also teach English 12, the department's major course on Shakespeare. Kaiser, who presently teaches the course, said yesterday that he and Garber would probably take turns each year teaching the class.
The structure of English 12 may change next year, Garber said yesterday. The course is currently divided into two semesters, the first dealing with Shakespeare's comedies and the second concentrating on the tragedies.
"I usually like to teach Shakespeare chronologically because I want students to see how he develops his writing," Garber said, adding that she would wait before making a final decision on the course's structure.
Edgar S. Rose, chairman of the English department at Haverford, said yesterday that Garber was "one of the most popular teachers at Haverford and always had time for stimulating discussions with her students."
Garber majored in English at Swarthmore College and graduated with highest honors in 1966. She received her doctorate in English from Yale in 1969 and has since published two books on Shakespeare