Despite having decades of scholarly experience under his belt, Monmouth College professor Lewis Gould believes that junior faculty deserve to be recognized for their research and scholarship. The nationally known historian and author is so firm in his conviction that he has established a cash award to encourage young Monmouth faculty members to pursue excellence.
Named in honor of another distinguished historian, who graduated from Monmouth College, the Gundersen Junior Faculty Scholarship Award will be presented every other year to a Monmouth faculty member with fewer than three years of service who has engaged in exemplary scholarship, research or creative work. The $1,500 stipend may be used as the recipient sees fit.
“It’s important to recognize and encourage junior faculty because they are the future of the college,” said Gould, a visiting distinguished professor who is also the Eugene C. Barker Centennial Professor Emeritus in American History at the University of Texas at Austin. “Encouraging them to stay and to produce benefits everyone.”
The award honors Joan Rezner Gundersen, a 1968 Monmouth graduate, who went on to earn graduate degrees from the College of William and Mary and the University of Notre Dame. Recognized as a pioneer in the women’s studies movement, she taught history at St. Olaf College from 1975 until 1990 and was one of the founding members in 1989 of California State University at San Marcos, for which she helped draft a mission statement and design the curriculum. Now the archivist and administrator for property at the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, she is the author of seven books and more than 22 articles on women’s history.
Gould said the idea to honor Gundersen came from a conversation with Monmouth history department chair Stacy Cordery, who was familiar with the alumna’s work. “It seemed to us that recognizing an alumna who had gained recognition as an historian would be a way of saying to students and faculty that Monmouth graduates can go on to rich and productive careers in the world of scholarship,” noted Gould, who added, “Connecting the award with a former student underlines the strong traditions of excellence that run through the Monmouth experience.”
“I am very honored about being named in the award,” Gundersen said, “but I am especially pleased about the purpose of the award. It’s hard for young faculty to find funds for research, while at the same time trying to establish their careers.”
Gould recently relocated from Austin to Monmouth, where he continues to actively conduct historical research and write. A graduate of Brown University, he earned his Ph.D. from Yale University. He taught for 31 years at UT-Austin, specializing in the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era and First Ladies in the 20th Century.