Published December 08, 2016

Gundersen Award

Theatre professor Campagna earns honor for junior faculty

Assistant Professor of Theatre Vanessa Campagna has received Monmouth College’s Gundersen Award for Junior Faculty.

Established in 2014, the Gundersen Award is presented 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.

“Vanessa has an extremely impressive track record of accomplishment as a theatre professional directing, acting, lecturing and consulting for high school theatre programs and, of course, directing and teaching Monmouth students,” said Dean of the Faculty David Timmerman. “In addition, she also has an extremely impressive record of accomplishment in her scholarly work, with multiple conference presentations, book chapters, an encyclopedia entry and a journal article. She is also someone who has the gift of being able to find a way to encourage others in every interaction she has with them.”

Earlier this year, Campagna received the Robert A. Schanke Fellowship for Emerging Scholars from the American Theatre and Drama Society. Among other earlier awards was an honor for teaching creativity from the University of Missouri, from which she received her Ph.D. in theatre in 2015.

“I am so very honored to have received this year’s Gundersen Award,” said Campagna, who joined Monmouth’s faculty in 2014. “I consider myself very fortunate to work at a liberal arts institution that encourages my research, and to be surrounded by smart and passionate people.”

Campagna received her master’s degree in theatre in 2012 from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and her bachelor’s degree in theatre from the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, Kan.

She was one of three faculty members who accompanied Monmouth students to Senegal last summer, and she presented a talk about the trip at the Mid-America Theatre Conference in Minneapolis. She also presented this year at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education in Chicago.

At Monmouth, she teaches courses in the theatre curriculum such as Classical and Modern Theatre History, Script Analysis and Voice and Movement. In addition, she teaches classes in the integrated studies curriculum including Introduction to Liberal Arts, World Drama and Theatre and Social Change.

In April, Campagna will direct Meet Me in St. Louis at the College’s Wells Theater.

Named in honor of 1968 Monmouth graduate Joan Rezner Gundersen, the award was funded by visiting distinguished professor Lewis Gould, a nationally known historian and author. Its purpose – to honor and recognize scholarship and research by Monmouth College tenure-track faculty early in their careers – grew out of Gould’s conviction that young Monmouth professors needed to be recognized, and that such an award would encourage them to pursue excellence.

“It’s important to recognize and encourage junior faculty because they are the future of the college,” said Gould, who is also the Eugene C. Barker Centennial Professor Emeritus in American History at the University of Texas.

Like Gould, Gundersen is a noted historian, recognized as a pioneer in the women’s studies movement. An inductee into Monmouth’s prestigious Hall of Achievement, she taught history at St. Olaf (Minn.) 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 20 articles on women’s history.

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