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Five New Odyssey Professors Announced

CONWAY, Ark. (November 27, 2012) - Hendrix recently awarded Odyssey Professorships to five faculty to develop new engaged learning opportunities for students.

The new Odyssey Professors include:

  • Dr. Kristi McKim - The Charles S. and Lucile Esmon Shivley Odyssey Professorship
  • Dr. Damon Spayde - The Dr. Brad P. Baltz & Rev. William B. Smith Odyssey Professorship
  • Dr. Rick Murray and Dr. Mark Sutherland - The Judy and Randy Wilbourn Odyssey Professorship
  • Dr. Robert Williamson - The Margaret Berry Hutton Odyssey Professorship

Odyssey Professorships are an extension of Your Hendrix Odyssey: Engaging in Active Learning, the college's nationally recognized engaged learning initiative. Individual faculty members or small groups of faculty members may apply on a competitive basis for the professorships, which carry an endowment to support faculty projects that create new engaged learning opportunities, such as undergraduate research, for students.

Faculty proposals are recommended by the Committee on Faculty and approved by the President. Odyssey Professorships are usually held for a period of two to three years.  

"We are very fortunate to be able to provide these unique opportunities for faculty to pursue expanded projects with students over an extended period of time," said Dr. Robert L. Entzminger, Executive Vice President and Provost.  

Dr. McKim, a film studies professor, will leverage her professorship for her project "Motion Pictures, Active Learning: Festivals, Scholars, Artists, and Research," which includes opportunities for undergraduate research activities such as a Hendrix-Rhodes Film Research Symposium and in New York City's Performing Arts Library.

Dr. Spayde, a physics professor, will use his professorship to help develop "Hands-On Physics, "a new introductory physics course that employs a carefully designed set of interactive, small group activities that include experimental lab work, computer modeling, group problem solving, small and large group discussion, and the occasional mini-lecture.

Biology professors Dr. Murray and Dr. Sutherland will also use their professorship to develop a new, research-based laboratory in microbial diversity for the Biology Department's introductory course. In the new course, students will use both classic microbial and new molecular sampling techniques to develop a database of the microbial diversity in the Hendrix Creek Preserve, adjacent to campus in The Village at Hendrix, as well as other locations governed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Nature Conservancy.

Religious studies professor Dr. Williamson's project "The Word in the World" will explore the intersection of the Bible and faithful living through several hands-on activities, including a semester-long reading group, a speaker series of renowned theologians and biblical scholars, and mission trips in communities at home and abroad.

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the fifth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country's "Up and Coming" liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured in the 2012 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country's best 377 colleges, the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, Forbes magazine's annual list of America's Top 650 Colleges, and the 2013 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit