consuela francis*It’s not too hard even for those who have never met or heard of Dr. Conseula Francis to understand the sort of person she was. Just reading what her peers thought about her will give you a pretty clear image.

“Conseula’s humor, her candor, and her dedication to students inspired us all in the English Department and across campus,” wrote Dr. Scott Peeples, department chair of the college’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, on the department’s Facebook page.

“I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a teacher whose classroom instincts were as strong or who had the kind of impact she had on students,” Peeples continued. “I can’t tell you how many times I heard or read the words ‘changed my life’ in reference to Conseula’s teaching. The word ‘passion’ is a little over-used these days, but Conseula had more of it than anyone I’ve ever known, for her students, her family, her friends, and for life itself.”

Francis passed away in May after a battle with leukemia, according to the college. While Americans catch about one billion colds every year, Leukemia is a rarer form of cancer that affects blood forming tissues. Francis was one of the 170,000 Americans diagnosed with the disease every year.

In addition to working in the Provost’s office as the Associate Provost for Curriculum and Institutional Resources this past school year, Francis was well-known for her work as an outstanding teacher and pioneer in her work. She was awarded the College’s highest instructor honor, the Distinguished Teaching Award, in 2011. She was also the founding director of the school’s African American studies program.

“There are few words to express the significance of the loss of Conseula Francis to our College of Charleston family,” said College of Charleston President Glenn F. McConnell. “Professor Francis was a remarkable human being — a passionate educator, a professor’s professor, and a true student advocate. She devoted her life to the pursuit of knowledge and had a tremendous impact on the many lives she touched, mine included. Conseula leaves a wonderful legacy behind at the College, and she will be greatly missed.”

According to the college’s Office of Academic Affairs, Francis’ academic interests included the African American novel, black science fiction, black romance, and comic books. She also published a book on the works of black science fiction author Octavia Butler and wrote articles on the Harlem Renaissance, race and superhero comics, fanfiction, and urban erotica.