Three UC Santa Cruz faculty awarded Presidental Chairs

Three faculty members at the University of California, Santa Cruz-history professor Edmund Burke, III, psychology professor Barbara Rogoff, and literature professor Helene Moglen-have been appointed to Presidential Chairs on the Santa Cruz campus.

UCSC Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood made the appointments, which extend from July 1, 2003, through June 30, 2006. Annual support for each chair is $45,000 and will fund proposals made by the appointees previous to their selection.

"These three exceptional scholars help distinguish our campus, and it is an honor to recognize them," Greenwood said. "Each professor has crafted a proposal to develop innovative research by faculty and students. All of the projects promise to have far-reaching and enduring impact."

The Santa Cruz campus has appointed five Presidential Chairs in the past: Professor Hayden White, Historical Studies (1983-88), Professor Richard Wasserstrom, Moral Philosophy (1988-91), Professor Angela Davis, African American and Feminist Studies (1995-97), Professor David Haussler, Bioinformatics (2000-03), and Professor David Hoy, Interdisciplinary Critical Thinking (2000-03).

The president of the University of California supports Presidential Chairs on each of the ten UC campuses through an endowment established in 1981 by the UC Regents. The positions are offered to distinguished members of the university's faculty and are intended to encourage new or interdisciplinary program development or to enhance quality in existing academic programs.

Professor Burke is a major figure in the field of world history. His proposal to establish a World History Center at UCSC would not only benefit the History Department, but would also strengthen the campus reputation for excellence in research and world history. Burke's proposal is broad in its scope, and is meant to be inclusive in order to bring together a number of colleagues as he works to initiate the process of developing a new cluster of research and teaching in the History Department.

"The establishment of a center for world history at UCSC will be the first such center in UC and has a two-fold mission," Burke noted. "One aim is to provide training in teaching world history for history faculty and graduate students at all levels of the history curriculum including lower division, upper division and graduate courses. A second aim is to support the department's research cluster in Colonialism, Race and Trans-National Movements in conjunction with the all-UC multi-campus research group, The World History Workshop. World and trans-national history is a major new research trend within the field of history, and this project aims to foster its further development."

Professor Moglen, a well-known literary critic and feminist theorist, is the director of the new Institute for Advanced Feminist Research at UCSC. The Institute brings together faculty, graduate students, artists, journalists, and public intellectuals to work on projects that are historical, international, and interdisciplinary in conception, and collaborative and experimental in practice. Moglen has proposed to use the resources awarded to the Chair to support programming for the Institute. Her intellectual qualifications, leadership skills, contacts across campus, and openness to the visions of the larger feminist community have all contributed toward the remarkable success that the Institute has already achieved.

"With the support of funds provided by the Presidential Chair, I hope to help realize the ambitious goals of the Institute's participants," Moglen said.

Professor Rogoff is the UC Santa Cruz Foundation Professor of Psychology and an internationally recognized scholar in the field of developmental psychology. Her proposal is to assemble an interdisciplinary, intergenerational set of scholars to study how social interaction is organized in support of learning in communities where schooling has not been prevalent, particularly in indigenous communities of North and Central America.

"The Chair will allow me to convene a group of leading scholars and students to make headway on understanding the processes of supporting learning within informal community settings," Rogoff noted. "In many of these communities, children learn very effectively through being involved with their families' everyday activities. Studying how such engagements are structured will help us understand how children's learning and adult-child interaction varies across communities, and how learning everywhere might be facilitated."