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Distributed November 15, 2004
Contact Mark Nickel

Honoring Teaching Excellence
Bogues, Bonde and Fischer Named Inaugural Royce Family Professors

Brown University has appointed Barrymore Bogues, professor of Africana studies; Sheila Bonde, professor of the history of art and architecture; and Karen Fischer, professor of geological sciences, as the inaugural Royce Family Professors of Teaching Excellence. They will serve three-year terms, through June 30, 2007.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Three Brown University faculty members were honored Monday evening, Nov. 15, 2004, for their innovation and excellence in undergraduate teaching.

Barrymore Bogues, professor of Africana studies; Sheila Bonde, professor of the history of art and architecture; and Karen Fischer, professor of geological sciences, will serve three-year terms as the inaugural Royce Family Professors of Teaching Excellence, through June 30, 2007.

“Excellence in teaching is important in all disciplines,” said Brown President Ruth J. Simmons, who honored the three professors at a dinner in her home. “It was a distinct pleasure to recognize three distinguished members of the Brown faculty and to thank Mr. Royce for his generosity and vision in establishing the Royce Family Professorships.”

Six Royce Family Professorships were established in March 2004 with a $5.5-million gift from Brown alumnus and trustee Charles M. Royce, who was in attendance at the dinner Monday evening. The professorships are intended to recognize, reward and encourage innovation and excellence in teaching among the Brown University faculty. Each carries a $20,000 annual stipend in addition to the recipient’s regular salary and provides a $20,000 annual teaching excellence fund to develop teaching aids and support scholarly activities, including employment of undergraduate assistants. Each Royce Professor will offer a colloquium that provides insight into their teaching approach or their scholarly interests.


Barrymore A. Bogues

Bogues received his Ph.D. in political theory from the University of the West Indies in 1994. He began teaching at Brown in 1992, and has pursued an approach to teaching he refers to as “participatory critical learning.” His description of this theory is “to create the conditions and learning environment which would enable students to develop a reflective, humanistic and critical consciousness of their world.” In 2002 he received both the Barrett Hazeltine Citation from the graduating class and a Mellon Foundation Undergraduate Mentorship Award.

Bogues is recognized as a top scholar in Caribbean intellectual history and political thought, and has organized several international conferences in his field. His recent book, Black Heretics, Black Prophets, has received much acclaim and was the subject of a panel at the Fifth Annual Alain Locke conference at Howard University.


Sheila Bonde

Bonde received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1982. In 2002 she was awarded a Harriet W. Sheridan Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Learning in recognition of her mentoring of junior faculty colleagues and graduate students to be good teachers as well as good scholars. She is known for the care and respect she has given to undergraduate students in her lectures and seminars.

Bonde’s commitment to diversity in the curriculum has led her to teach outside her own areas of study, including courses in Islamic Art. Her embrace and dissemination of digital research and teaching tools has benefited an international community of colleagues and students, specifically the instructional Web site she helped develop for her archaeological investigations at Saint-Jean-des-Vignes in Soissons, France. That excavation is the longest-running continuous project of its kind in that country; Bonde has received support from the French and U.S. government agencies. Recently, she was awarded National Endowment for the Humanities funding for her ongoing work on this project.


Karen Fischer

Fischer received her Ph.D. in geophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989. In 1996 she joined the Brown faculty and has become recognized as an effective and caring teacher of students at all levels, from introductory freshman seminars to advanced graduate courses. She led the development of a new series of first-year seminars in geological sciences. Her own seminar, being offered this fall, is entitled “Living within the Landscape.” It focuses on the physical processes that shape the earth’s surface and affect human activity.

Two of her graduate student have won Best Student Paper Awards from the American Geophysical Union. She has been a mainstay of the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) program at Brown. She maintains a research program in seismology and the study of the structure and dynamics of the earth’s lithosphere and mantle, and has received significant funding from the National Science Foundation. Her work has been published in Science, Nature, and the top geophysical journals.


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