Presidential fellowships honor faculty in the arts and humanities

First published in Around the O on June 4, 2021.

Sixteen UO faculty members are being honored with the Presidential Fellowships in Humanistic Studies for their contributions to the arts and humanities.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College of Arts and Sciences is recognizing and celebrating both the 2020 and 2021 fellows together. Recipients are “highly productive or highly promising tenure-track faculty working in humanistic areas.”

The awards are open to tenure-track faculty members in any school, college or department. The $13,000 awards can fund travel, research assistance, copy editing, equipment and other research needs or can be put toward summer or sabbatical salary. 

Except where otherwise noted, the listed recipients are in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The 2021 Presidential Fellowships in Humanistic Studies went to: 

  • Stacy Alaimo, professor of English and environmental studies.
  • Nina Amstutz, assistant professor of history of art and architecture, College of Design.
  • Gabriela Pérez Báez, associate professor of linguistics. 
  • Erin McKenna, professor of philosophy.
  • Bryna Goodman, professor of history. 
  • Sylvan Lionni, assistant professor of art, College of Design. 

The 2020 Presidential Fellowships in Humanistic Studies went to: 

  • Carlos Aguirre, professor of history. 
  • Geri Doran, professor of creative writing. 
  • Gina Herrmann, professor of Spanish. 
  • Wonkak Kim, assistant professor of clarinet, School of Music and Dance. 
  • Anya Kivarkis, associate professor of jewelry and metalsmithing art, College of Design. 
  • Tres Pyle, professor of English. 
  • Scott Pratt, professor of philosophy. 
  • Glynne Walley, associate professor of Japanese literature. 
  • Zachary Wallmark, assistant professor of musicology, School of Music and Dance. 
  • Julie Weise, associate professor of history.  

For the past three years, the Presidential Fellowships in Humanistic Studies have celebrated the innovation of top artists and scholars in the arts and humanities across the University of Oregon. The awards were developed in 2019 by Karen Ford, then divisional dean for the humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences, in conversation with President Michael H. Schill. 

“President Schill was eager to recognize and reward highly distinguished artists and humanists at UO, and we decided to offer an award that provided significant support that could be used flexibly,” Ford said. 

Laura Vandenburgh, director of the School of Art + Design and associate dean for the College of Design, said the criteria for the fellowships are rigorous, requiring candidates to articulate the conception and definition of the project, explain its significance, methodology and anticipated impact, and give evidence of their record of excellence. 

Vandenburgh said the recipients are faculty members who can make their projects sound compelling and significant to the selection committee and who can demonstrate a strong record of productivity and success. 

“The fact that these awards include the arts has been so valuable because there aren’t many opportunities or big grants available to arts and humanities faculty,” Vandenburgh said. “Different kinds of creative practice and research require different kinds of support, so the flexibility that these awards offer is really unique. As a reviewer, it’s been a privilege to learn more about the exceptional work that’s going on across our campus.” 

The continuation of the funding for the awards is being reviewed this spring as the selection committee — Vandenburgh; Karen Ford, dean for faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences; Paul Peppis, professor of English; Stephen Rodgers, professor of music; Philip Scher, divisional dean for social science in the College of Arts and Sciences; and Harry Wonham, divisional dean for humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences — develop a proposal for sustaining the award program into the future. 

By Victoria Sanchez, University Communications