College of the Liberal Arts elevates four faculty to named professorships

May 21, 2018

Four faculty members in the College of the Liberal Arts have been awarded named professorships in the college, effective July 1, 2018.  They include:

  • Amy Greenberg, George Winfree Professor of History and Women’s Studies.  Greenberg is a noted historian of antebellum America, with a particular interest in the relationship between the United States and the rest of the world in the decades before the Civil War. She has written four books, including “A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico” (Alfred A. Knopf/Vintage Books, 2012), for which she received the Robert M. Utley Award from the Western History Association.  Greenberg is a past recipient of Penn State’s George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching and was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2009.
  • Koraly Pérez-Edgar, McCourtney Professor of Child Studies and principal investigator for the Cognition, Affect, and Temperament Lab. Pérez-Edgar uses psychological science to understand the onset of anxiety in children by examining their genetics, social interactions and temperament. She takes a multi-method approach in conducting her work that includes direct observation of behavior, cognitive functioning, psychophysiology, and neuroimaging. Pérez-Edgar is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and a James McKeen Cattell Fund Fellow, and she has received funding from the National Institute for Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, among others.
  • Benjamin Schreier, Mitrani Professor of English and Jewish Studies and director of the Jewish Studies Program. Schreier’s work explores post-1900 American and Jewish American literature and culture, with a particular interest in analyzing identity and intellectuality in literature and literary scholarship.  He has written two books: “The Impossible Jew: Identity and the Reconstruction of Jewish American Literature” (NYU Press, 2015); and “The Power of Negative Thinking: Cynicism and the History of Modern American Literature” (UVA Press, 2009). He is also editor of “Studies in American Jewish Literature.”
  • Dawn Witherspoon, McCourtney Early Career Professor of Psychology and director of the Context & Development Lab.  Witherspoon’s research focuses on the ways in which urban and rural families and youth are influenced by the contexts in which they are embedded, with a particular emphasis on how neighborhood, school, and family factors affect adolescent’s academic, psycho-social, and behavioral well-being. Her work also examines the mechanisms (e.g., racial socialization and identity) by which race and/or ethnicity influence development in these various contexts.  Before coming to Penn State, Witherspoon completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Center for Developmental Science and in the Department of Psychology’s Black Child Training Grant Program.

“It is a privilege to recognize the outstanding teaching, research, and leadership accomplishments of these four scholars,” noted Susan Welch, dean of the College of the Liberal Arts, in announcing the appointments.

“Holding a named professorship is one of the highest measures of a faculty member’s scholarly acumen and the respect they command among their peers. It also acknowledges their tireless work educating the teachers, scholars, and leaders of tomorrow, Named professors share their knowledge freely, 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.

"We are also grateful to our alumni and friends who have invested in the college and established these named positions.”

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 21, 2018