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The Carletonian

Carleton professors awarded with endowed chairs

<ofessors Susannah Ottaway, Michael Flynn, Ron Rodman, Chico Zimmerman and Barbara Allen were appointed to endowed professorships at the beginning of this school year.

An endowed professorship is an academic appointment supported by a contribution from a donor and is a highly prestigious award in academia. Get to know some of Carleton’s newly honored professors.

Susannah Ottaway

Professor of History Susannah Ottaway ‘89 will serve for the next three years as the David and Marian Adams Bryn-Jones Distinguished Teaching Chair in the Humanities.

Ottoway had been interested in history since high school and cultivated her interest in the “congenial and stimulating atmosphere” of Carleton as an undergrad.

One of the aspects of teaching at Carleton that Ottaway enjoys the most is the strong feeling of collaboration among faculty members, which she said will serve her well as she assumes the position of director of Carleton’s Humanities Center.
Ottaway, who has been on the advisory board of the Humanities Center since its inception, has long held an interest in the interdisciplinary nature of humanistic inquiry. She hopes to draw student attention to the humanities with a competition to decorate the new Humanities Center Office in the Weitz Center answering the question: “What do the humanities look like to you?”

Ron Rodman

Ron Rodman, the new Dye Family Professor of Music, discovered his passion for music early in life.

“While other kids were playing baseball, I was taking piano lessons,” he said.

After graduating as a music major from Indiana University, Rodman began to teach music to children in grades K through 12 at a small private school in Atlanta, GA, while earning his masters degree and playing trombone professionally in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Rodman never ceased to perform, even as he earned his doctorate degree in music theory, an unusual path in a field where one is expected to choose between academia and performance.

Rodman appreciates the variety of things he can do at Carleton, from directing the Symphony Band to teaching music theory. He is currently focusing on electronic music and newer media and has recently published a book on music and television.

Chico Zimmerman

Chico Zimmerman, now the Hazel Lillian Amland Grose Professor of the Classics, has had an interest in words and language since childhood. He was first exposed to the world of Classics when his older brother convinced him to take Latin as a foreign language in college and, as he said it, he “was hooked right off the bat.”

Zimmerman’s research interests have primarily focused on Greek poetry, but while teaching a class at Carleton on epic poetry, he became particularly interested in the Latin poet Lucan and how the Epicurean notion of ataraxia, or freedom from fear or worry, emerges in sometimes unexpected ways in the poet’s work.

Zimmerman does not hesitate to work beyond departmental lines. He recently spent four years as the Coordinator of the Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching, where he created programming for faculty development around issues of learning and teaching. “It was especially enjoyable to work with newer faculty and help mentor them as they began their own professional journeys here.  This was very rewarding work,” he said.

Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn, professor of Linguistics, has been awarded the John E. Sawyer Professor of Philosophy and Liberal Learning position, which he will hold for the next four years.

Flynn has taught at a number of institutions around the world, including Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in the Netherlands and Nankai University in China.

“Carleton students have a kind of spirit and passion for the life of the mind that I have rarely found at any other college or university,” he said.

In 1986, Flynn founded Carleton’s linguistics program in 1986, what he called “a chance of a lifetime.”  For the past decade, Flynn’s interests have focused primarily on the Japanese language, in particular in the clarification of the extremely complicated and controversial Japanese writing system. Flynn has his immediate sights set on expanding the Japanese linguistics off-campus program in Kyoto, which will take place this spring.

Barbara Allen

Barbara Allen has been appointed to the Ada M. Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professorship in the Social Sciences for the next 3 years.

Allen graduated with honors from Indiana University in 1973 with a double major in political science and environmental studies. She then obtained her Ph.D. from IU in 1981. Allen taught at the Kelley Graduate School of Business for two years before joining the Carleton faculty in 1988. She has chaired the department of political science and directed the Women’s and Gender Studies program.

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