NEW PALTZ — Arthur H. Cash, distinguished scholar and noted Laurence Sterne authority, has been appointed as the new chairperson of the English department at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Cash was chair of the department from 1975 to 1980 and has agreed to resume the position following the death of Carley Bogarad who had served as chair until last spring.

Cash holds a doctorate from Columbia University and has been teaching at New Paltz since 1967. He was awarded the title of Distinguished Professor by the SUNY Board of Trustees in 1989, the highest rank a professor can attain in the SUNY system. He has received numerous fellowships, grants and awards.

The English department, according to Cash, has two distinct, but interrelated functions, that of teacher and that of researcher and writer.

“As teachers,” he said, “we expose our students to great literary work. We try to teach them how to read critically and skillfully; how to evaluate literature — or life; and how to write effectively. As researchers and writers of books, articles, and poems — and we have produced many — we try to describe the world as it really is — or at least some small corner of the world. We will struggle to maintain this great humanistic tradition,” Cash added.

An authority on the British novelist Laurence Sterne, Cash has written and published four books on the life of the 18th century Anglican clergyman and humorist. His biography, “Laurence Sterne: The Early and Middle Years,” is considered the definitive work on this period in Sterne’s life.

Cash is currently working on a biography of John Wilkes, an audacious political reformer of 18th century England, whose works include “Essay on Woman,” a parody of Alexander Pope’s “Essay on Man.”

Cash resides in New Paltz, N.Y., with his wife, Mary Gordon, one of this country’s most widely read and highly acclaimed novelists. They have two children.