Faculty Meeting News and Notes: August 29, 2019

Protesters opposing the Confederate flag pose for a picture with the Abraham Lincoln statue outside Stevens Hall. Photo credit to the author.

In 2016, Professor Scott Hancock (back row on right) led a group to the Peace Light Memorial in opposition to displays of the Confederate Flag; that protest was mentioned at Thursday’s faculty meeting as one example of Hancock’s ongoing pursuit of justice as he was recognized for winning the college’s Distinguished Teaching Award (File photo/Jeffrey Lauck)

By Benjamin Pontz, Editor-in-Chief

The Gettysburg College faculty convened for its first meeting of the 2019-20 academic year Thursday afternoon for an affair that was largely celebratory. President Bob Iuliano made his first remarks at a faculty meeting, Provost Chris Zappe presented two teaching awards, and college vice presidents introduced new employees from their respective divisions before the faculty adjourned to the president’s house for refreshments at an annual reception.

News and Notes from President Iuliano’s First Remarks

President Bob Iuliano opened his remarks by heralding the “overwhelming sense of community on display when we welcomed new students last week” and expressed the sense of “enormous appreciation” for the work the faculty does, as observed from his interactions throughout the his first two months on the job. He then outlined some of the challenges he sees on the horizon for the college in his first year.

Chiefly, Iuliano cited that the college did not enroll as many students as hoped and alluded to the discount rate — the percentage of total tuition revenue offset by financial aid — being higher than anticipated. He attributed both to the beginning of what may well be a rising tide of demographic challenges facing higher education institutions.

“Our class is smaller than we would have liked, and it has other characteristics that will put some pressure on us financially,” he said. “We have asked the various divisions to take a good look at how they can deploy their resources most intelligently, and that work will continue.”

Nevertheless, Iuliano expressed confidence that Gettysburg remains in a strong position to overcome those looming demographic challenges, noting his “confidence borne from the enormous strength that we have.”

“I proceed with a firm conviction,” he added, “that the work that we do here, that the preparation of students through a rigorous liberal arts education is as important as it has ever been in service to society as a whole. That animating principle will continue, I think, to hold us in good stead.”

Teaching Awards

Dr. Scott Hancock, Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies and Chair of the History Department, was recognized for winning the Gettysburg College Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest honor the faculty bestows on a colleague. The award is typically presented at Commencement, but Hancock was abroad at the time.

In presenting the award, Provost Chris Zappe said the award recognized Hancock’s “career of inspiring and inspired teaching” as well as his significant role as a mentor particularly to students from underrepresented backgrounds.

“Like many underrepresented faculty at Gettysburg College, Scott has also taken on a great deal of invisible service in his mentorship of students and junior faculty,” Zappe said.

Zappe also quoted Hancock’s longtime colleague and friend, Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Dean of Social Science & Interdisciplinary Programs Jennifer Bloomquist, who said, “For nearly two decades, Scott has been my advisor, my friend, and my role model, and he has been all those things and more to many of our colleagues and students as well.”

“He has served as an outstanding exemplar of what we do at liberal arts colleges,” her reflection continued. “He truly is an excellent teacher and mentor. He is a vital member of our community and, indeed, is one of the reasons that some of us in Africana Studies have stayed in the college for so long. He is also the reason that many black and brown students have been able to be successful here.”

Zappe also noted that Hancock has centered his life on “family, faith, and football.” Hancock has worked with ministries in Bolivia and led dialogues with local churches on racial reconciliation, and he has served as coach of the Gettysburg High School Men’s Soccer team for 11 years.

From there, Zappe presented the Luther W. and Bernice L. Thompson Distinguished Teaching Award, which the Faculty Personnel Committee (FPC) gives to a newer faculty member with outstanding teaching reviews. For the first time since at least 2012, when winners are listed on the college website, FPC recognized two winners: Associate Professor of German Studies Henning Wrage and Assistant Professor of Economics Tsu-Ting Tim Lin. This spring, Wrage earned tenure while Lin, who has taught at Gettysburg College since 2012, was denied tenure and will leave the college after this academic year, a source familiar with the situation confirmed. (Teaching is one component of the tenure and promotion evaluation process. The other two are research and service.)

25 Years of Service

Four faculty members were recognized for 25 years of service to the college:

  • Peter Fong, Professor of Biology
  • Caroline Hartzell, Professor of Political Science
  • Jack Ryan, Vice Provost, Dean of Arts & Humanities and Associate Professor of English
  • Magdalena Sanchez, Professor of History

List of New Faculty Members

  • Austin Stiegemeier, Assistant Professor of Art & Art History (new tenure-track appointment)
  • Lauren Klabonski, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Yoko Nishimura, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies *
  • Mohammad Ali, Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics
  • Margaret Blume-Kohout, Assistant Professor of Economics (new tenure-track appointment)
  • Gokcer Ozgur, Assistant Professor of Economics
  • Benjamin Parker, Visiting Assistant Professor of Education
  • Aristides Dimitriou, Assistant Professor of English (profile in The Gettysburgian) *
  • Melissa Forbes, Visiting Assistant Professor of English
  • Kalyan Nadiminti, Assistant Professor of English *
  • Molly Reid, Emerging Writer Lecturer in English
  • Natasha Gownaris, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
  • Mercedes Valmisa, Assistant Professor of Philosophy *
  • Lindsay Reid, Assistant Professor of Political Science
  • Yunhua Ding, Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics
  • Aaron Lacayo, Assistant Professor of Spanish *
  • Cesar Leal, Assistant Professor of Music

* indicates that faculty member’s one-year appointment as a Mellon Faculty Fellow has converted into a tenure-track assistant professorship

Educational backgrounds and dissertation titles of new faculty and administrators are available in this PDF

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Author: Benjamin Pontz

Benjamin Pontz '20 serves as editor-in-chief of The Gettysburgian. Previously, he served as a staff writer, event coverage coordinator, news editor, and managing news editor. During his tenure, he has written more than 150 articles, and he led the team that won first place in the 2017 Keystone Press Awards for ongoing news coverage of Robert Spencer's visit to Gettysburg College and co-wrote the package of editorials that won first place in the 2018 Keystone Press Awards. Ben is a political science and public policy double major with a minor in music, and he reads up to seven newspapers daily. Follow him on Twitter @benpontz.

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