Jensen and Mason named to professorships
T wo of Kenyon's most esteemed faculty members have been named by President Robert A. Oden Jr. and Provost Katherine Haley Will to prestigious endowed professorships at the College. On July 1, 1999, Pamela K. Jensen of the political science department will become Kenyon's first Harry Clor Professor of Political Science, while Theodore O. Mason Jr. of the English department will become the second John B. McCoy-Bank One Distinguished Teaching Professor. Both chairs were established as a result of "Claiming Our Place: The Campaign for Kenyon," the College's $100-million fundraising effort.
Jensen joined the Kenyon faculty in 1979 after teaching at the University of Colorado and Lake Forest College. A graduate of Kent State University who has also taught at Carleton College as a distinguished visitor, she earned her doctorate at the University of Chicago. In 1998, Jensen was presented with the Trustee Award for Distinguished Teaching, which cited "the grace and wit with which [she embodies] what we hold as ideal in the liberal arts." She will hold the Clor Chair for a five-year term.
"Choosing from his many deserving and distinguished colleagues a worthy successor to Harry Clor in the chair that will henceforth bear his name was not an easy task," said Oden. "We are especially pleased and proud, however, that Pam Jensen--someone who represents all we most honor in a teacher-scholar--has accepted this signal honor. We are confident she will establish a suitably lofty standard for future incumbents of the chair."
"In a faculty full of people with incisive minds, Pam Jensen stands out for the smart and humane way she approaches both subject matter and students," said Will. "Whether addressing her students on Rousseau or her colleagues on teaching, she is a spellbinding speaker."
A member of the Kenyon faculty since 1988, Mason previously taught at Trinity College in Connecticut and the University of Virginia and held a visiting post at Mount Holyoke College. He earned his bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University and his doctorate from Stanford University. Mason, who was awarded the McCoy-Bank One Chair as the result of a competitive process, will hold the position for four years.
"Because the College has chosen to define the McCoy-Bank One Professor as a person who will aid us in the all-important task of introducing new faculty members to the distinctive roles and responsibilities of Kenyon professors, the chair carries with it special demands and recognition," said Oden. "With that in mind, and in view of his excellent proposal, we believe Ted Mason will be the ideal McCoy-Bank One Professor. We feel certain that his history of service to the College has prepared him to lead other faculty members to embrace the high standards of the men and women who have taught our students with dedication for one hundred seventy-five years."
"Ted Mason's work as chair of the Dissertation Fellowship Committee has already marked him as a faculty leader, a role he will enlarge upon next year as chair of the Tenure and Promotion Committee," said Will. "As someone who recognizes the ideal blend of scholarship and teaching we seek to achieve at Kenyon, he will be a wonderful mentor to new faculty members."
Jensen becomes the first tenured female professor to be named to an endowed chair at the College, while Mason will be the first African-American to hold such a position. In his proposal for the McCoy-Bank One Chair, entitled "Local Culture, Textuality, and Discourse Communities: Writing and the Liberal Arts," Mason calls for a program of public discussion, collaborative work, and faculty mentoring.
The inaugural incumbent of the McCoy-Bank One Distinguished Teaching Chair has been classics professor William McCulloh, who will retire from the faculty this summer after thirty-eight years of service. The professorship was established with a $1.5-million gift from former Kenyon board chair John McCoy and the Bank One Corporation.
"I'm deeply grateful to have been granted this honor and this responsibility," said Mason. "I can only hope to follow the example of Bill McCulloh in helping to facilitate the College's ongoing consideration of effective teaching."
The Clor Chair was created with more than $1 million in contributions from former students of the legendary professor, who joined Kenyon's political-science faculty in 1965. Clor, who has held the chair himself this year as the Distinguished Teaching Professor of Political Science, will also retire this summer.
"Having listened to the tributes paid to Harry Clor by the donors of the chair--story after story of the large and profound influence Harry's teaching and scholarship have had on so many--I can only say that I have a deep sense of humility and responsibility in having my name linked to his," said Jensen. "Harry is simply the ideal of the liberal-arts professor, and I will be grateful to Rob Oden, Kate Will, and my departmental colleagues for making sure I keep that ideal in sight."
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