Willson Professorships are collaborations between the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences through generous gifts from Jane and Harry Willson. Willson Professors are appointed based on the recommendation of UGA senior scholars in the arts and humanities.
William A. Kretzschmar Jr., Harry and Jane Willson Professor in Humanities
William Kretzschmar is recognized as an international leader in each of his four primary areas of research: American English studies, English lexicography, corpus linguistics, and language variation studies. He is editor-in-chief of the Linguistic Atlas Project (LAP), the oldest and largest ongoing American English survey project in the United States. Under his leadership, UGA has become a national center for dialect research, and the materials of the LAP are the best source for the history of mid-century American English.
Kretzschmar is the American pronunciation consultant for the Oxford English Dictionary and American editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Pronunciation for Current English. Kretzschmar is also a pioneer in the field of humanities computing. He has introduced numerous techniques of computer mapping and statistical analysis to his field, and has continued his leadership by showing how patterns of language as we speak and write it can be explained with complexity science.
Bala Sarasvati, Jane Willson Professor in the Arts
Bala Sarasvati is a Certified Movement Analyst (CMA) specializing in the application of movement theory to dance training and performance. For the past decade, she has created interdisciplinary art incorporating technology and film with aerial and contemporary dance. She serves on the graduate faculty for Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, and has served on the faculty for the José Limón Dance Institute, the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies and Seattle Dance Centre. Her dance training approach has been presented at El Contro Laban 2002 and Global Laban 2008, both in Rio de Janeiro and at Laban Centre London, UK; and International Council Kinetography Laban, Trinity Laban, London and Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, NYC. Bala has served as guest artist at numerous universities and intensive summer dance programs and choreographed more than 50 full-length dance pieces.
Her choreography has been shown throughout the U.S. and China, and in Brazil, Taiwan, France and Costa Rica. She has presented choreography at World Dance Alliance conferences in Brisbane, Australia and NYC; Seattle Bumbershoot Art Festivals, Seattle, WA; Piccolo Spoleto Festivals in Charleston, SC. In addition, Bala’s choreography was selected for the National Dance Association and National American College Dance Festival Association, held at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. She performed at two National Society for Literature and Science conferences. Shakti-The Force of Destiny, one of the many interactive computer and dance projects, was presented as a Cultural Olympiad Event during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Her dance for camera, Springbreak, was selected for the Quinto Festival International Video Danza ‘99, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
She has served on the board for the National American College Dance Festival Association 1995-2001, Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, Board of Directors and Willson CHA Advisory Board. An original co-founder, she currently serves for the UGA Ideas for Creative Exploration (ICE) steering committee. Bala served as Head, Department of Dance at The University of Georgia 1998-1999 and 2000-2006.