The honor of being named a recipient of Eastern Illinois University's Distinguished Faculty Award reaches beyond the borders of the campus, according to current recipient Janet Marquardt.
"Faculty here sometime have difficulty getting credibility within our respective fields," the professor of art history/women's studies, said. "Colleagues make the assumption we're here because we're not as good as those who might be working at a larger, research-oriented institution."
"This type of award helps a lot to dispel that misconception," she added.
Marquardt, who began teaching at Eastern nearly 25 years ago, will officially be recognized for the EIU Faculty Senate-sponsored honor during a Commencement ceremony on Dec. 18. Criteria for the award mandate that nominees excel in the areas of teaching/performance of primary duties, research/creative activity and service.
And Marquardt has done it all.
Her students represent undergraduate and graduate students alike -- some art majors, some not. Many of her courses are delivered in the traditional classroom; however, Marquardt is not opposed to more contemporary teaching methods. In fact, she's a pioneer of sorts, having developed the first EIU telecourse -- "Art of Past Cultures" -- for the School of Adult and Continuing Education in 1990.
She's also been actively involved in spreading her knowledge outside of EIU's Charleston campus. In addition to leading study abroad programs, including art- and culture-focused visits to London and Paris, Marquardt serves as a visiting professor/researcher at other far-away campuses (e.g., the University of Poitiers in France and Trinity College in Dublin). She plans to spend Fall 2011 at Harlaxton College in England.
Her well-traveled status is compounded by the dozens of conferences she's attended and/or presentations she's given all over the world, including France, England, Ireland, Portugal, Canada, Switzerland and Scotland.
Marquardt has authored three books -- with a contract out for a fourth -- and she's served on committees and/or boards at the university, community, national and international levels.
She refuses to rest on her laurels, however, as she looks forward to one of her newest challenges as director of Eastern's newly formed Center for Translational Humanities (CTH).
The center is not an actual building or office -- at least not yet, Marquardt adds -- but, rather, a method of bringing together scholars and audiences from humanities disciplines for open communication (i.e., "translating" ideas). Programs sponsored by the center "will strive to foster creativity, engender tolerance and spark further dialogue."
"Today, the humanities -- fields of academic study including philosophy, history, literature and languages -- have been broadened to include cross-disciplinary relationships with the fine arts and social sciences," Marquardt said. "These individual fields, while offering unique and productive insights of their own, all share in the pursuit of teaching open communication, critical inquiry and thoughtful reflection."
2010-2011 events include a panel on historic preservation, a talk on how geography affects architectural history, an exhibition and lecture by a photo-journalist celebrating the role of women in contemporary society, and a film about how the world's rich fabric of diverse languages is disappearing.
(More on the CTH can be found at http://www.eiu.edu/humanitiescenter .)