As if that event weren’t enough to cheer us during the pandemic, we were delighted to learn that Dr. Louise Bernard, founding Director of the Obama Presidential Center Museum, would receive the College’s Distinguished Alumni Award in the fall. The department had co-nominated her with the Department of Theater, Drama, and Contemporary Dance — she took M.A.s from both departments before embarking on the adventurous career described in our profile of her, also in this issue.
These are the most prominent honors associated with the department during the past year, but they are emblems, too, of the department’s remarkable success amidst the troubles — teaching by Zoom in the spring, largely in person in the fall; struggling to maintain research and writing with libraries closed; just trying to survive home schooling, supply-chain frustrations, and isolation. You can read about the year’s faculty, graduate student, and undergraduate achievements here. Principal among the graduate student awards, Sarah Pedzinski received the university’s ultra-prestigious Lieber Memorial Associate Instructor Award for her outstanding teaching. I’m pleased to note that three of our graduate students have received the award since 2018.
We also celebrate the careers of three recently retired colleagues — Richard Nash, Kathy Smith, and Steve Watt — whom we miss seeing daily and who represented the department so well for so long. But we welcome two new colleagues, Byron Santangelo and Cass Turner, who bring new strengths to the department’s teaching and research.
You can see why I can’t wait to get to work in the morning. It’s a great honor to serve as chair of a department as good as ours. You are a member of the department, too, whether alum or friend, and we thank you so much for your continued interest in and support of the work we do.
Provost Professor and Chair, Department of English
Indiana University at Bloomington