Four Faculty Honored at Scholars Reception

Four Saint Mary’s faculty members were honored Friday at the Tenth Annual Scholars Reception, which recognizes exceptional teaching, research and service by SMC professors. Each of the recipients received a $5,000 stipend in recognition of their contribution to scholarship at Saint Mary’s.

Addressing about 50 faculty members at the reception in Saint Albert’s Library, Provost Beth Dobkin quoted Father John Haughey, SJ, who wrote in his book “Where Is Knowing Going?” that scholarship is “doing justice to God” because, as Dobkin said, “the epiphanies of discovery reveal God’s glory.”

Steve Bachofer, director of faculty development, presented the 2011-12 Faculty Awards. They were:

Early Career Award: Jia Wu, assistant professor of Performing Arts. The award recognizes a dynamic new member of the SMC community. Bachofer said “her scholarly work has gained international recognition in Germany, Switzerland and Hong Kong, just to name a few.”

Teaching Excellence Award: Denise Witzig, associate professor of Women’s and Gender Studies. “In seminar discussions,” Bachofer said, “she creates an atmosphere in which students learn that intellectual discomfort is a challenge to be embraced and that wrestling with ideas is important not only for classroom grades but also for understanding life in general.”

Research Scholar Award: David Alvarez, professor of Politics. Alvarez is a well-known author and expert on espionage and intelligence. This year, he authored the book titled “The Pope’s Soldiers: A Military History of the Modern Vatican.”

Faculty Service Award: Brother Charles Hilken, FSC, professor of History. Bachofer noted just a few examples of Brother Charles’ service, including his service as Academic Senate chair and member of the Liberal and Civic Studies governing board, which conducts faculty panel interviews for the graduating seniors in the program.

In her address, Dobkin said scholarship at Saint Mary’s is gaining in both quantity and quality. As evidence, she noted that more than 30 peer-reviewed articles were published by SEBA faculty in one year and that Professor Ron Olowin recently received Opus 1000 status after he had achieved more than 1,000 citations in referred journals for a paper he co-authored.

The school has received increasing support for its academic programs, she said, citing a $1.7 million grant to the Kalmanovitz School of Education for the Reading Recovery Program and a $250,000 grant from the Keck Foundation for digital media studies.

She also mentioned several opportunities for faculty development, including:

The annual Writer’s Retreat at Mont La Salle, the Christian Brothers' retreat in Napa

A $2,500 summer fellowship offered by CILSA for faculty interested in conducting community-based research. (Contact Marshall Welch for more information.)

Two annual Alumni Association grants of up to $5,000 each for individual faculty members. (This year’s deadline is March 19; find more information online.)

Dobkin concluded by announcing that that in the year ahead, she will work with the deans and director of faculty development to design an internal grant program to provide additional support for ongoing research by Saint Mary’s faculty members.

Teresa Castle
Office of College Communications

View a photo gallery of the event.

Photos by Max Crowell ’12