As the academic year comes to a close, UGA has announced its 2023 honors and awards for faculty and graduate students. Once again the university’s humanities and arts community is well represented among those recognized for their outstanding achievements in research and teaching. Congratulations to all of them, and our profound gratitude for their ongoing contributions to the broad and diverse constituencies of this great public university.
Below is a list of the honors and awards received by humanities and arts faculty and students, the majority of whom have received some form of support from the Willson Center during their academic careers – as well as contributed their efforts and talents to its programs, greatly benefiting our whole community. A few have generously shared their reflections on those interactions.
Distinguished Research Professor – Sujata Iyengar, professor, department of English
The vibrant presence and steadfast support of the Willson Center for the humanities and arts at UGA allows faculty and student researchers to thrive and to bring the results of their research to enrich the lives of all Georgians. I thank the Willson’s support for helping me bring acclaimed and cutting-edge critical and creative thinkers to campus in recent years and for supporting symposia on Global Shakespeare, book history, race and ecocriticism, and other humanities topics of interest to Georgia students, teachers, and our well-informed citizenry. The Willson Center also supports a regular faculty writing group in which I participate and fosters a learning community among humanists and creatives on campus. – Sujata Iyengar
University Professorship – Jean Martin-Williams, Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, Hugh Hodgson School of Music, and associate dean, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
University of Georgia Award for Excellence in Teaching – Nancee Reeves, senior lecturer, department of English
Meeting and introducing Jeff VanderMeer, one of my favorite living writers, when he was a visiting speaker in the Willson Center’s 2019 Global Georgia series, is a high point of my career, if not my life. VanderMeer visited with my students, who had just finished his novel Borne, and the opportunity to discuss a novel with its author is one that they will never forget. I keep an eye on what events and speakers the Willson center is sponsoring and encourage students to attend those that connect to class discussion. I have taken groups of students to Willson Center Cinema Roundtables and Interdisciplinary Modernism Workshops, and created assignments around events and speakers like VanderMeer. – Nancee Reeves
Albert Christ-Janer Creative Research Award – Jed Rasula, Helen S. Lanier Distinguished Professor, department of English
Early Career Scholar Award – Nora C. Benedict, assistant professor of Spanish and digital humanities, department of Romance languages
I’m grateful to the Willson Center for its central role in supporting my research with time, space, and mentorship. As a Willson Center Faculty Fellow, I was able to dedicate an entire semester to conceptualizing and writing my second book project. Apart from the Willson Center proper, the DigiLab has served as the perfect place for sharing my research with the community and teaching a variety of technologically-inflected courses. Finally, their faculty research clusters and mentorship programs have connected me with colleagues from different departments whose perspectives have challenged my ways of thinking and improved my work. – Nora C. Benedict
Non-Tenure Track Faculty Research Excellence Award – Robert L. Foster, senior lecturer, department of religion
Graduate Student Excellence-in-Teaching Awards – Savannah Jensen, Ph.D. candidate, department of English; Vera Bulla, Ph.D. (May 2023), department of Romance languages
Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award – Bethany Bateman McDonald, Ph.D. (May 2022) in Hispanic linguistics, department of Romance languages