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Nine Faculty Members Awarded Odyssey Professorships

CONWAY, Ark. (December 15, 2010) – Hendrix recently awarded six Odyssey Professorships to nine faculty members.  

Each Odyssey Professorship carries an endowment to support faculty projects that create new engaged learning opportunities, such as internships and undergraduate research, for students.  

“The Odyssey Professorships allow our faculty and students the opportunity to pursue projects over an extended period of time, increasing the depth of learning that occurs for all parties,” said Dr. Robert L. Entzminger, Provost and Dean of the College. 

The Odyssey Professorships are an extension of the college’s nationally recognized engaged learning initiative, Your Hendrix Odyssey: Engaging in Active Learning.  Individual faculty members or small groups of faculty members may apply on a competitive basis for the professorships. Proposals are recommended by the Committee on Faculty and approved by the President. 

“Often the idea for these grew out of a smaller project originally pursued under the auspices of a grant from the Odyssey Program or another of the programs on campus that support engaged learning initiatives,” added Dr. Entzminger. 

The new Odyssey Professors are:

Dr. Alex Vernon, Associate Professor of English, was awarded the James and Emily Bost Odyssey Professorship (Global Awareness) for his proposal “Return to the 17th Parallel: A Vietnam Odyssey.” 

Dr. Rod Miller, Associate Professor of Art, received the Bill and Connie Bowen Odyssey Professorship (Global Awareness, Undergraduate Research). 

Dr. Fred Ablondi, Associate Professor of Philosophy, received the Morris and Ann Henry Odyssey Professorship (Global Awareness, Professional and Leadership Development, Undergraduate Research, Special Projects).  Dr. Ablondi will develop The Galileo Studies Initiative. 

Dr. Jennifer Penner, Assistant Professor of Psychology, and Dr. Jennifer Peszka, Associate Professor of Psychology, will jointly hold the Julia Mobley Odyssey Professorship (Undergraduate Research). Their collaborative proposal was titled “Developing Undergraduate Research Experiences in Programmatic Research: Examining the Role of the Frontal Lobe in Dating and Mating Decision-Making.” 

Dr. Matt Moran, Associate Professor of Biology, and Maxine Payne, Associate Professor of Art, will jointly hold the Judy and Randy Wilbourn Odyssey Professorship (Special Projects). Their collaborative proposal was titled “Natural History and Images of the Big Woods.” 

Dr. George Harper, Assistant Professor of Biology, and Dr. Randy Kopper, Professor of Chemistry, will jointly hold the Nancy and Craig Wood Odyssey Professorship (Undergraduate Research) and will work to establish a collaborative, interdisciplinary undergraduate research program. 

Odyssey Professorships are usually held for a period of two to three years.  

Hendrix, founded in 1876, is a selective, residential, undergraduate liberal arts college emphasizing experiential learning in a demanding yet supportive environment. The college is featured in the 2010 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country’s best 371 colleges, was identified as the nation’s top “Up and Coming” liberal arts college for 2011 by U.S. News and World Report, and is ranked among 45 “Best Buy” colleges by the 2011 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit