Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

When it comes to faculty awards, history repeats

June 23, 2008

Faculty members in the NIU Department of History have had a banner year so far, bringing home a number of major grant and fellowship awards.

“Every one of these awards is significant and very competitive,” said Professor Kenton Clymer, chair of the department. “I think it says a lot about the quality of our faculty members.”

Among the awards:

  • Assistant Professor J.D. Bowers and Teacher Certification Adviser Kate Maley were awarded the “Freedom Project,” a $1 million grant from the Department of Education under the Teaching American History grant program, in partnership with Rockford Public Schools. Under the same Department of Education program, Bowers and Maley also were awarded the “American History Partnership,” a $1 million grant for a project that will be conducted with the Elgin School District.
  • Associate Professor Harvey Smith received a three-year renewal of the multi-million dollar contract with the Illinois State Board of Education to produce the Interactive Illinois Report Card (IIRC). The IIRC http://iirc.niu.edu is a widely used school improvement Web site that displays school performance data on all Illinois schools in colorful analysis screens, along with instructional guides, lesson plans and other learning resources for parents, teachers and students. The site also provides secured access tools that educators use to monitor the progress of individual students and to implement improvement planning. More than 7,000 users visit the IIRC each week. Smith, who delivers more than 40 IIRC training sessions across the state each year, has directed the IIRC since its launch in 2001. IIRC is a joint project of the History Department and NIU Outreach.
  • Assistant Professor Valerie Garver has received a prestigious Solmsen Fellowship for a year-long, in-residence program at the University of Wisconsin­Madison’s Institute for Research in the Humanities. This highly competitive award is for her second book project on textiles in the Carolingian world. Solmsen Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded annually to scholars working on literary and historical studies of the European Classical, Medieval and Renaissance periods.
  • Assistant Professor Kristin Huffine received two prestigious fellowships for the coming academic year that will allow her to work full-time on her scholarship, including her book manuscript. The book will examine the moral and ethnographical categories of natural historical analysis that helped Jesuits proclaim local religious and administrative control over the mission territories in Paraguay. She will spend the fall term at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University on a fellowship funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation. She then will spend the spring term at the Newberry Library in Chicago.
  • Assistant Professor Ismael Montana has been awarded a year-long fellowship to the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Germany. The fellowship is funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, one of the larger German foundations supporting research in the humanities and social sciences. Montana will be affiliated with the multidisciplinary research program, “Europe in the Middle East - The Middle East in Europe,” which seeks to rethink key concepts and premises that divide Europe from the Middle East.
  • Professor Barbara Posadas received the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award of the Association of Asian American Studies at the group’s annual meeting this past April in Chicago.
  • Presidential Research Professor Heide Fehrenbach received a fellowship for this fall to the American Academy in Berlin. The mission of the academy is to strengthen the transatlantic relationship by promoting intellectual and cultural exchange. It does so by awarding residential fellowships to accomplished Americans in the arts, humanities, social sciences and public policy, as well as through programming and partnerships with organizations in the United States and Germany.
  • Professor Aaron Fogleman was appointed the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies for 2008­2009 at the Center for North America Research at the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany.