B.A. Brown (1970); M.Phil., University of London (Marshall Fellow 1972); Ph.D., Yale (Danforth Fellow 1975). Professor Howard began teaching at Syracuse in 1975, where she received the first University-wide Wasserstrom Prize for excellence as teacher and mentor of graduate students. At Columbia she has received the Graduate Mentoring Award in 2006 and the Presidential Teaching Award in 2020; she has also received Guggenheim, NEH, Mellon, Folger, Huntington, and Newberry Library Fellowships. In 2010 she gave the Columbia University Schoff Memorial Lectures on 'Staging History: Imagining the Nation' on playwrights William Shakespeare, Tony Kushner, and Caryl Churchill. Her teaching interests include Shakespeare, Tudor and Stuart drama, Early Modern poetry, modern drama, feminist and Marxist theory, and the history of feminism.
From 1996 to 1999 Professor Howard directed the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia; in 1999-2000 she was President of the Shakespeare Association of America; from 2004-2007 she served as Columbia's first Vice Provost for Diversity Initiatives; and from 2008-2011 she was Chair of the Department of English and Comparative Literature. Currently, as a Trustee Emerita of Brown University, she is a member of the Brown University President's Diversity Advisory Council and serves on the Advisory Board of the Pembroke Center. For twelve years she served as National Senator for Phi Beta Kappa.