Atwill honored with Graduate Program Chair Leadership Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — David Atwill, graduate program director and associate professor of history and Asian studies in the College of the Liberal Arts, is the 2014 recipient of the Graduate School Alumni Society Graduate Program Chair Leadership Award.

The award honors faculty members for exemplary leadership that benefits graduate students and faculty in an existing graduate program at the University.

In less than four years as graduate officer in history, Atwill has “completely transformed” a program that previously focused primarily on ancient history and where Ph.D. students averaged nine years to earn a degree, according to one nominator. Working with his department head and leading 45 faculty members, he articulated four major areas of study (colonial Latin America, early modern global, 19th-century U.S., and late imperial and republican China) and constructed a new curriculum in support of the revised program. “Transforming a curriculum in which graduate courses were cancelled or minimally enrolled into one in which all courses offered are fully subscribed is a small miracle,” the nominator said.

Atwill’s renovation of the graduate program in history has been detailed in the Chronicle of Higher Education and was the subject of a video produced on behalf of the American Historical Association. Students in the program have won awards including the Fulbright Fellowship and the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation Dissertation Fellowship.

The graduate program director also led the clarification of many details comprising the interface with dual-title degree partners including Asian studies, women’s studies and African American studies. “Professor Atwill’s efforts to clarify dual-title partnership processes resulted in a set of guidelines that are now used by all of the departments in the College of the Liberal Arts,” according to a nominator.

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Last Updated March 20, 2014