Hendrix Awards Three New Odyssey Professorships

Hendrix College recently awarded Odyssey Professorships to three faculty members. Each Odyssey Professorship carries an endowment to support faculty projects that offer students new opportunities for engaged learning, such as internships, travel, and undergraduate research. 

“Odyssey Professorships give faculty the resources to pursue a particular project over an extended period of time,” said Dr. Peter Gess, the College’s associate provost for engaged learning and a politics and environmental studies professor. “The program has encouraged a wide variety of in-depth projects and significant cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, and will continue to do so through this latest group of professorships.”

Individual faculty members or small groups of faculty may apply for the professorships on a competitive basis. The Committee on Faculty reviews and recommends the proposals, which are approved by the President. The new Odyssey Professors are:

Dr. Daniel Whelan, Professor of Politics and International Relations: The Dr. Brad P. Baltz and Rev. William B. Smith Odyssey Professorship (2019-2020). Title: Human Rights Research.  

This Odyssey Professorship has a research component supporting two activities: student research for the next edition of International Human Rights, a textbook published by Routledge for which Dr. Whelan is a co-author; and research travel support for a separate project on human rights and development. The professorship will also provide financial support for fielding a 12-student Model UN team to attend the American Model UN Conference in Chicago in November 2019.

Dr. Allison Shutt, Professor of History: The James and Emily Bost Odyssey Professorship for Global Awareness (2019-2022). Title: Designing Games for History.

Dr. Shutt will work with students to research, design, write, and play an original role-playing game. The professorship will provide opportunities for students from any major to participate at any level, from enrolling in a game design class and attending a roleplaying conference to doing primary source research and test-playing the game in progress. Selected students will also have the opportunity to mentor other students and to act as classroom instructors for HIST 201, Doing History. In addition, the professorship will support Professor Shutt’s academic research and writing. 

Professor Ann Muse ’83, Professor of Theatre Arts: The Cynthia Cook Sandefur Odyssey Professorship (2019-2022). Title: The Moment is Now! 

This professorship will bring opportunities for engaged learning in social justice, creative activity, and career development for students, staff, and faculty members of the Hendrix Theatre Arts and Dance Department. Students and Professor Muse will create performance programming for incarcerated women at Hope Rises in Little Rock. A teaching artist from Tectonic Theatre Project will support a course in Theatre and Social Justice. Students will travel to the SouthEastern Theatre Conference with Brandon Smith, technical director, where they will attend master classes and a job fair, and interview with graduate schools. Holly Payne, designer, will develop “The Show Must Go On…after graduation,” a program to prepare students for a life in theatre after college. Professionals from the industry will speak to the students about the nuts and bolts of career building to vocational paths in theatre.

The Odyssey Professorships are an extension of the College’s nationally recognized engaged learning initiative, the Hendrix Odyssey Program. Since 2005, the Hendrix Odyssey Program has required students to complete at least three hands-on learning experiences before they graduate. Students and faculty can apply for funding to support a proposed Odyssey project. The College has awarded more than $4 million in Odyssey grants since the program’s inception.