Bates awarded grant to support interdisciplinary teaching

Bates has received a $1.2-million grant from the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation of New York City to establish a professorship in interdisciplinary studies, Bates’ president Donald W. Harward announced.

The new Christian A. Johnson Professorship in Interdisciplinary Studies is the 17th endowed professorship at Bates.

The new Bates professorship recognizes changes in teaching and learning at the close of the millennium, President Harward said. “The boundaries between academic fields have become increasingly difficult to detect and defend, and an explosion of scholarship has led to the emergence of new fields,” he said. “For students to evaluate and be comfortable with this new information, they need talented teachers and scholars to guide them across disciplines.”

Held by senior members of the faculty, endowed chairs recognize faculty achievement and distinction. “Endowed chairs give us an opportunity to demonstrate that the accomplishments of our faculty have been achieved while devoting time, attention, and care to the needs of our students,” Harward said. “The Johnson Professorship brings a new level of visibility to, and provides a new level of faculty confidence in, the value of taking research and teaching wherever they lead, even if beyond the boundaries of established fields of study.

The Johnson Endeavor Foundation of New York City was established in 1952 by Christian A. Johnson, a leader in the public utility and investment company industries. A financier with wide-ranging interests, he derived great personal pleasure from nurturing the curiosity and intellectual development of young people with whom he came into contact, as well as from providing for many whom he did not know the financial means to help them achieve their educational goals.

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