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Six Faculty Members Awarded Odyssey Professors

CONWAY, Ark. (December 4, 2013) – Six Hendrix faculty members were awarded Odyssey Professorships.

The Odyssey Professorships will support faculty members’ projects that create new engaged learning projects for students through 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.  

Politics professor Dr. Jay Barth will hold the Bill and Connie Bowen Odyssey Professorship. The professorship will support Barth’s project titled “Developing an Arkansas policy Program (APP): An Undergraduate Think Tank.” The project builds upon Barth’s ongoing public policy and public opinion research and advocacy work related to Arkansas.

Chemistry professor Dr. Courtney Hatch will hold the Morris and Ann Henry Odyssey Professorship. Hatch’s project is titled “Undergraduate Experiences in Atmospheric Chemistry. With the support of her Odyssey Professorship, Hatch will help provide opportunities for students to participate in professional atmospheric chemistry research using laboratory, field, and theoretical modeling approached.

Economics professors Dr. Megan Leonard and Dr. Tom Stanley will hold the Julia Mobley Odyssey Professorship. Their project is titled “World Poverty, International Development, and International Research.” Leonard and Stanley will offer students new opportunities to study world poverty and give students guidance about how to extend and apply state-of-the-art systematic reviews by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) on poverty, inequality, gender, and social empowerment.

English professor Dr. Alex Vernon will hold the James and Emily Bost Odyssey Professorship. His professorship will support “Vietnam Encounters,” a project that will create student-centered experiential collaborations with Vietnamese partners and a new partnership with Can Tho University that will engage Hendrix students in rural sustainability in the Mekong Delta.

Biology professor Dr. Ann Willyard will hold the Nancy and Craig Wood Odyssey Professorship. Her project, titled “Growing Research: Ponderosa Pine on the Tree of Life,” will build on Willyard’s previous research with students, see their results published and provide further evidence that their hypothesized species are distinct and how they are related to the Mexican taxa.

“This latest round of appointments provides these faculty and their students with an exciting range of opportunities for hands-on learning opportunities in Undergraduate Research, Global Awareness, Professional and Leadership Development, Service to the World, and Special Projects,” said Hendrix Provost and Dean of the College Robert L. Entzminger.

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the sixth 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 latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, as well as the 2014 Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges, Forbes magazine's list of America's Top Colleges, and the 2014 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit