College of the Liberal Arts awards named professorships to seven faculty members

November 16, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Seven faculty members in the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts have been awarded named professorships in the college, effective Jan. 1, 2017. The seven were honored during tbe college's annual Distinguished Faculty Ceremony on Nov. 15 along with other faculty members who were awarded named and early career professorships earlier in 2016.

The college’s newest Liberal Arts Research Professors (and their new titles) include:

  • Steven Browne, Liberal Arts Research Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences. Browne, viewed as one of the foremost textual critics in rhetorical studies, closely reads rhetorical texts in historical context to uncover their dynamics and influences. In doing so, he illuminates the larger patterns of social interaction, political judgment, and moral reasoning that produced such texts.
  • Jon Nussbaum, Liberal Arts Research Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and Human Development and Family Studies. Within the communication discipline, Nussbaum’s name is synonymous with lifespan communication. His research explores how communication both affects and is affected by interpersonal relationships as individuals move through different stages in their lifespan.
  • Christopher Reed, Liberal Arts Research Professor of English, Visual Culture, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Reed has published nine books and curated several art exhibitions that make major contributions to the fields of sexuality and gender studies, modern art and literature, visual culture, and the art and literature of the British Bloomsbury Group, of which he is one of the foremost scholars of our generation.
  • Sandra Spanier, Liberal Arts Research Professor of English and Women’s Studies. Spanier is general editor of “The Letters of Ernest Hemingway” and a leading scholar of the American modernist writers Ernest Hemingway and Kay Boyle. She has also helped facilitate cultural collaborations between Cuba and the United States to preserve Hemingway’s letters and property in Cuba, and has created rare opportunities for Penn State students to travel to Cuba.
  • Jennifer Van Hook, Liberal Arts Research Professor of Sociology and Demography (appointment effective July 1, 2016). A member of the Penn State faculty since 2007, Van Hook's research centers on international migration and links in a timely way to important policy issues such as debates about undocumented immigrants. Van Hook's scholarly accomplishments include dozens of peer-reviewed articles in the top sociology, demography, and public health journals.

The college’s newest Edwin Erle Sparks Professors (and their new titles) include:

  • Richard Doyle, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English. Doyle has published six scholarly books and more than 30 essays that place his research at the intersection of the sciences, arts, and humanities on topics such as non-duality, the history of molecular biology, the evolution of the noosphere, and the epiphanic writing of Philip K. Dick. He may also be the only faculty member in the history of the English Department to be awarded two National Science Foundation grants.
  • Emily Grosholz, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy, English, and African American Studies. A distinguished historian of early modern philosophy and philosopher of science and mathematics, Grosholz is also a prolific and highly accomplished literary critic and poet. She is the author of three single authored philosophical monographs, seven books of poetry, six edited or co-edited collections, and dozens of journal articles, book chapters, critical essays, poems, and translations.

Liberal Arts Research Professors and Sparks Professors are distinguished faculty selected from current, tenured faculty members holding the rank of professor. Those selected are recognized as outstanding leaders in their fields of scholarship and creative activity well beyond other peers at the rank, as documented by the publication record; grants, awards, and citations; national and international presentations; leadership roles in professional associations and with professional publications; and evaluations by peer reviewers. They must also demonstrate sustained records of teaching excellence and leadership at the departmental, college, university, and/or professional level.

“It is a privilege to recognize the outstanding teaching, research, and leadership accomplishments of these scholars,” noted Susan Welch, dean of the College of the Liberal Arts, in announcing the appointments. “Named professors lay the foundation for the teachers and scholars of tomorrow. They share their knowledge, open their students’ minds to the endless possibilities and world that await them, and challenge current and future generations to transcend existing boundaries within their disciplines.”

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 16, 2016