UC Santa Cruz Humanities Division launches new Distinguished Professors program; five faculty honored

The Humanities Division at UC Santa Cruz celebrated the launch of a new program to recognize the academic achievement of its faculty at an awards reception held on April 15 at the University Center.

Dean of Humanities Wlad Godzich announced the appointment of Professors James Clifford (History of Consciousness), Carla Freccero (Literature), Gail Hershatter (History), David Hoy (Philosophy), and Geoffrey Pullum (Linguistics) as the first recipients of the UCSC Humanities Distinguished Professor Award. Each professor will receive an unrestricted $5,000 per year research stipend for four consecutive years.

"Astonishingly, some of our outstanding faculty are well known to the rest of the world, but are not known to this campus," Godzich said in his awards ceremony introduction. "So we wanted to acknowledge them and mark on campus who they are."

All of the award-winning professors said they would primarily use the funds to support graduate students in their departments. Clifford noted that because graduate programs represent the cutting edge of research, the work of graduate students is intimately related to the work of professors.

"Graduate students are crucial to a healthy research environment," Clifford observed. "Often what grad students are doing for their doctorates is pushing the limits of our own research."

Freccero said she would also utilize the funds for travel to meet with people who might have ideas for joint-funding projects at UCSC. She noted that she recently traveled to New York to meet with the executive vice-president for programming and acquisitions at the Sundance cable television channel "to see if they might want to invest in some creative endeavors."

The five Distinguished Professors were selected from a group of 11 faculty nominated by departments in the Humanities Division, as well as by individual members of the division's faculty. The list was reviewed by the Divisional Committee on Academic Personnel and names were submitted to Godzich, who said that he accepted the committee's final recommendation.