ULM logo
ULM College of Arts and Sciences announces new professorships

Published October 22, 2013

Photo of Dr. Ruth E. Smith

Six professors at the University of Louisiana at Monroe have been selected to hold Endowed Professorships in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Mary Adams, Dr. Jana Giles, and Dr. Rebecca Stephenson from the department of English; Dr. Joshua Stockley from political science, Dr. Christine Strunk from mathematics, and Dr. Christopher Mapp from communication, will all receive support for their research and service projects. 

Dr. Ruth Smith, director of the School of Humanities said, “The projects supported by these professorships reflect the depth of scholarship and quality of teaching that take place on the ULM campus.”


Dr. Mary Adams, associate professor in the School of Humanities and director of freshman English, is the new Endowed Professor in English.

She proposed a service learning project to engage world literature students in the working lives of global citizens.  Students will learn about the cultural conditions, goals, and hardships of people from around the world. 

Photo of Dr. Mary Adams

Adams will use the endowment funds to establish an account at the ULM Foundation from which funds will be drawn to help projects identified by Kiya, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.

“This professorship affords me the opportunity to embark upon and to fund a very important educational experience,” said Adams.

“I am allowing my world literature students to donate a portion of my funds through microloans.  This experience will help reinforce much of the social and cultural information we learn in world literature.  But perhaps more importantly, it will connect my students and these global communities in a very real and indelible way.”

Students will select borrowers who will receive the loans, as small as $25. The goal will be to establish a continuing fund to allow students to identify worthwhile projects and become directly involved in helping others create a better life. 


Photo of Dr. Jana Giles

Dr. Jana Giles, assistant professor of English in the School of Humanities, was selected for the McKneeley Professorship in English Literature.  Giles has planned a book project which will examine six British and Anglophone novels. 

“I am humbly honored by this distinguished award, which demonstrates a great show of support for my current book project on several British and Anglophone postcolonial novels,” Giles said.

“The funds from the professorship will allow me to dedicate my summers to this project, to travel to conferences and major libraries nationally and internationally, and to acquire any necessary supplies and services. At this early stage in my career it is a very special honor to have the university validate my contribution to the community as well as to the greater endeavor of widening the global scope of enlightenment and understanding.”

Giles’ work argues that the novels challenge British colonialism through their use of the sublime, which is a theory of aesthetics—a branch of philosophy concerned with human responses to art, beauty, and physical experience. 


Photo of Christopher Mapp

Dr. Christopher Mapp, assistant professor of communication and director of student publications, has been awarded the Vernon W. “Bodie” McCrory Professorship in Mass Communications.

Mapp plans to use his funds to attend conferences and further his research in mass communication and interpersonal communication.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to receive this award, which supports the kind of research and scholarship that is critical to our mission at ULM and allows us to provide the best possible education to our students,” Mapp said.

“[My] conference presentations will center on reality television and cultural narcissism and a quantitative research study on forgiveness and imagined interactions.”

Mapp also has plans to visit Los Angeles in the spring for script development as part of his creative work with Hollywood Casting and Film, and has a book chapter on Dr. Drew's ‘Celebrity Rehab’ coming out early next year.


Photo of Dr. Rebecca Stephenson

Dr. Rebecca Stephenson is the new Barham Endowed Professor in English. 

An associate professor and graduate coordinator for the department of English, Stephenson will use her funding for travel and research materials for her current book project tentatively titled “Finding Literature in Computus and Scientific Writing:  Discourses of Identity in Anglo Saxon England.” 

Stephenson’s work will analyze medieval English scientific writings as a literary form that works primarily not by imparting factual scientific and medical knowledge but by figuring an identity for the medieval monks who created and read the materials.

Stephenson plans to use the funds from the professorship for two trips to England, in 2015 and 2016 for further work with manuscripts.  She will also present some of her research at the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists conference at Glasgow in 2015 and the International Medieval Congress at Leeds in 2016.

“My research involves working with 1000-year old manuscripts,” remarked Stephenson. “This professorship gives me the opportunity to travel to libraries in Cambridge, Oxford, and London. I am grateful for this opportunity.”


Photo of Dr. Joshua Stockley

Dr. Joshua Stockley, associate professor of political science, has been selected as the L. M. McKneely Endowed Professor in the Humanities. 

His project will be a book chapter about the 2014 Louisiana Senate race between Senator Mary Landrieu and Representative Bill Cassidy for the Roads to Congress series.  He will also serve as the lead editor on a book about the 2015 state elections.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to receive the L.M. McKneely Endowed Professorship in the Humanities,” said Stockley.

“It is always a privilege to be recognized by your peers and by the university for your hard work and academic accomplishments; I am excited by the opportunity this fellowship gives me to expand upon my research and to produce significant publications in the discipline of political science.”


Photo of Dr. Christine Strunk

Dr. Christine Strunk holds the Capital One Professorship in Mathematics. Her project will be the investigation of the core of an ideal.  

According to Strunk, the core is the simplification of an ideal. The concept was introduced in 1988 and appears in the Briançon Skoda Theorem relating ideals to reductions. 

The theory also has a connection to Kawamata’s Conjecture of line bundles in Algebraic Geometry. Strunk seeks to produce a general formula during her research.

Strunk said, “I am greatly humbled to be named the Capital One Professor of Mathematics. I am also grateful for the award to fund my research and to help me travel to present this important work.”

For more information on endowed professorships, visit ulm.edu/foundation/professorships.html