Five Junior Faculty Members Receive Whiting Fellowships For Outstanding Teaching in the Humanities

Brooklyn, NY — Five members of the Brooklyn College junior humanities faculty have been selected to receive full or partial Fellowships funded by the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation during the 2007-2008 academic year in recognition of the outstanding quality of their teaching.

The recipient of a full-year Whiting Fellowship is Assistant Professor Celina Su, of the Brooklyn College political science department. Under the conditions of her award, Professor Su will be released from her teaching duties during both the Fall 2007 and Spring 2008 semesters and will be expected to devote her time to the pursuit of scholarly projects.

Professor Su received her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her B.A. from Wesleyan University. Her interests lie in the role of civil society in social policy, especially in the interaction of culture, grassroots groups, and education or health care policy-making. Su’s most recent research focused on education organizing groups in the South Bronx facing the same political constraints and similar funding levels; it delineates the ways in which cultural norms help to shape the groups’ wildly different political strategies.

In addition to Professor Su’s full-year Fellowship, four other members of the junior humanities faculty also have been awarded half-year Fellowships. They are:

  • The anthropology and archaeology department’s Assistant Professor Jillian Cavanaugh, who received her Ph.D. in anthropology from New York University in 2003;
  • The art department’s Assistant Professor Jennifer L. Ball, who earned her Ph.D. in art history from New York University in 2001;
  • Assistant Professor Rachel Kousser, also of the art department, who likewise earned her Ph.D. in art history from NYU in 2001; and
  • The philosophy department’s Assistant Professor Saam Trivedi, who grew up in Delhi where he studied music before turning to philosophy and becoming a Rhodes Scholar. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1999.

After consultation with their individual department chairs about whether it is in the best interest of the department and the College for them to be released in the Fall 2007 or Spring 2008 semester, each of the four will be freed from their teaching duties to pursue their scholarly efforts.

The Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation is noted for its support of the humanities as well as creative endeavors. As a result, Whiting Fellowships for nontenured humanities faculty have the objective of “supporting the very best teachers.” According to the Foundation’s requirements, “the selection process should ignore need, scholarship, service to the College or scholarly field, concentrating exclusively on the candidates’ teaching experience and teaching promise.”

Since the Fall of 2001, Brooklyn College and the Whiting Foundation have cooperated on a program designed to recognize outstanding teachers with a better chance for the properly rewarded and fulfilling academic careers that are sometimes reserved for scholars totally committed to their research.