Barry McNamara  |   Published December 03, 2015

Gundersen Award

Assistant professors Rollie, Wright first recipients of honor for junior faculty
  • Assistant professors Emily Rollie (theatre) and David Wright (English) have been named the first recipients of Monmouth College’s Gundersen Junior Faculty Scholarship Award.
Assistant professors Emily Rollie (theatre) and David Wright (English) have been named the first recipients of Monmouth College’s Gundersen Junior Faculty Scholarship Award.
  Named in honor of 1968 Monmouth graduate Joan Rezner Gundersen, the award was funded last year 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. “Encouraging them to stay and to produce benefits everyone.”   Rollie had an article published this fall in Theatre Annual, the oldest theatre periodical continuously published in the U.S., and wrote a book chapter last year. Her invited lecture at SUNY-Plattsburgh’s Center for the Study of Canada earlier this year was one of nearly a dozen conference presentations she’s made since arriving at Monmouth in 2013, the same year she received her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. Rollie completed her undergraduate work at St. Olaf College and earned a master’s degree from Central Washington University.   “Emily’s work as a scholar and her work with our theatre program clearly feed off of each other in just the way faculty members at liberal arts colleges have always promoted and sought,” said David Timmerman, dean of Monmouth’s faculty. “Her scholarship informs and empowers her teaching and her teaching connects back to her scholarship.”   Wright recently authored a full-length collection of poems titled “The Small Books of Bach,” which has received very positive reviews. Thirty of his poems have been published individually in journals and anthologies, as have two critical/pedagogical short essays. Wright has presented at four professional conferences and led workshops and poetry readings in a dozen different settings, ranging from college campuses to a variety of community venues. A graduate of Millikin University, Wright has graduate degrees from Loyola University-Chicago, Ashland University and Truman State University.   “David is a great example of a scholar who pursues his own creative work with great passion and commitment at the same time that he enables and encourages his students to do the same,” said Timmerman. “The result is a beautiful and ongoing synergy that generates outstanding work.”   The Gundersen 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.   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 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.   “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.”
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