Decatur, Fink, Gill, and Peterson Win Awards


Rachel Fink


Indira Peterson


Penny Gill


Sean Decatur

Four MHC faculty members will receive awards April 24, two for outstanding teaching and two for excellence in scholarship at the traditional spring gathering celebrating faculty accomplishments as scholars and artists. Sean Decatur, newly promoted to associate professor of chemistry, and Indira Peterson, professor of Asian studies, will receive the Meribeth E. Cameron Faculty Prize for Scholarship. Rachel Fink, associate professor of biological sciences, and Penny Gill, Mary Lyon Professor of the Humanities and professor of politics, will receive the Mount Holyoke College Faculty Prize for Teaching. The four professors will receive citations and checks for $2,500 and give short talks at the ceremony.

The awardees were selected through a comprehensive nomination and review process coordinated by the Faculty Awards Committee, which is composed of Donal O'Shea and retired faculty members Eugenia Herbert, Robert Herbert, Sally Montgomery, and Marilyn Pryor. Faculty nominated their peers for the scholarship awards, while alumnae and faculty nominated professors for teaching honors. Committee members read nominees' scholarly works and reviewed teaching evaluations and student comments before arriving at their decisions.

The awards, which were given for the first time last year, were made possible by gifts from members of the MHC board of trustees. The donor of the teaching award wishes to remain anonymous. Trustee Janet Hickey Tague '66 endowed the scholarship award in honor of Meribeth E. Cameron, Professor Emeritus of History and former acting president and dean of the faculty at MHC. Cameron taught at the College from 1948 to 1970, also serving as academic dean and, on a number of occasions, as acting president of the College. Tague, who took a class in Chinese history with Cameron, remembers her as "a formidable intellectual presence on campus."

"When I learned of Dean Cameron's death in 1997," said Tague, "I wanted to do something to recognize her and to celebrate the centrality of faculty excellence to the College's mission. What better way to do that than through establishing this prize fund in her honor?"

The inaugural winners of the awards were Joan Cocks, professor of politics and chair of the critical social thought, and James Coleman, professor of dance (Mount Holyoke College Faculty Prize for Teaching) and Joseph Ellis, Ford Foundation Professor of History, and Elizabeth Young, associate professor of English and chair of film studies (Meribeth E. Cameron Faculty Prize for Scholarship).


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