Seven ACM colleges are welcoming new faculty members this fall who have two-year appointments as ACM-Mellon Post-doctoral Fellows in areas that include environmental ethics, creativity, Arabic and Islamic studies, classical archaeology, sociology and gender studies, indigenous religious traditions, and Middle Eastern history.
Now entering its fourth year, the program enables ACM colleges to hire recent PhDs from top research universities, with the aim of encouraging the Fellows to pursue careers in undergraduate teaching and research at liberal arts colleges. This year’s group joins eight Fellows already on ACM campuses, who will be in the second year of their fellowships.
Begun in 2009 with a generous $4 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the program will have supported a total of 26 two-year fellowships when it wraps up in 2014.
ACM-Mellon Post-doctoral Fellows and mentors at the spring 2012 program workshop in Chicago.
In each year of the grant, ACM colleges have submitted proposals for post-doctoral positions on their campuses in the arts, humanities, humanistic social sciences disciplines, and in interdisciplinary environmental studies areas. The colleges with successful proposals conducted the searches and hired the Fellows.
With a half-time teaching load and half-time designated for research, the fellowships are structured to give recent PhDs an inside view of what it’s like to be a professor at a liberal arts college. The Fellows are paired with experienced faculty mentors who help them hone their teaching skills and they attend three professional development workshops organized each year by ACM.
The Fellows certainly have had an impact on the colleges over the past three years. In some cases, they have bolstered the curriculum by bringing different specialties to departments and offering new courses in their areas of expertise. Several Fellows have teamed up with other faculty to provide cross-disciplinary approaches to topics, while others have developed courses in emerging fields.
The program has provided other, more intangible, benefits to faculty on the campuses, according to David Schodt, ACM Senior Program Officer for Faculty and Staff Development Programs, who has been one of the leaders of the program workshops.
“Some of the faculty mentors have talked about having the Fellows on the campuses as a way for them to connect more closely with the frontiers in their discipline,” Schodt noted. The Fellows have different perspectives to share with their faculty colleagues “both because they’re closer to graduate school, and because they may be coming out in fields that didn’t even exist ten years ago or are thinking about established fields in different ways.”
The program has been valuable for the Fellows, as well. Almost all of the program participants have moved from their fellowships into tenure-track teaching positions, several at liberal arts colleges. Two of the Post-doctoral Fellows – Julie Fairbanks at Coe College and Andrew Hageman at Luther College – were hired by their host colleges for tenure-track faculty positions.
Current ACM-Mellon Post-doctoral Fellows
Fellows are listed with their departmental/disciplinary affiliation and academic years in the program.
Catherine Bronson (PhD, University of Chicago), Arabic and Islamic studies, 2012-14
Evangeline M Heiliger (PhD, University of California-Los Angeles), Gender studies, 2011-13
Stephen Campbell (PhD, University of Michigan), Environmental ethics, 2012-14
Jennifer Clare (PhD, University of California-Berkeley), Comparative literature, 2011-13
Dan Fahey (PhD, University of California-Berkeley), Political science, 2011-13
Aaron Hagler (PhD, University of Pennsylvania), Modern Middle Eastern history, 2012-14
Lake Forest College
Aurelia Campbell (PhD, University of Pennsylvania), Asian art history, 2011-13
Burcu Bakioglu (PhD, Indiana University), New media studies, 2011-13
Evan Bradley (PhD, University of Delaware), Creativity, 2012-14
Michael O’Brien (PhD, University of Texas, Austin), Ethnomusicology, 2011-13
Evgenia Fotiou (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison), Indigenous religious traditions, 2012-14
Jeremy Pool (PhD, Emory University), African history, 2011-13
Kristian Lorenzo (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison), Classical Archaeology, 2012-14
VaNatta Ford (PhD, Howard University), African American rhetoric & communication, 2011-13
David Hutson (PhD, University of Michigan), Sociology/gender studies, 2012-14