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ND faculty members awarded fellowships

Julie Bender | Thursday, February 10, 2005

Three University of Notre Dame faculty members received National Endowment for the Humanities [NEH] research fellowships for 2005, bringing Notre Dame’s number of NEH fellowships in the past six years up to 20 – more than any other university in the nation. Susan Youens, professor of music, received the fellowship for her research project “Heinrich Heine and Song.” Ian Kuijt, an associate professor of anthropology, received a grant for his project “Early Village Social Organization and Food Production.” Alyssa Gillespie, assistant professor of German and Russian languages and literature, received the award for her research titled “Dan-gerous Verses: Crime and Conscience in the Worlds of Alexander Pushkin.””I am thrilled to receive my fourth NEH fellowship,” said Youens, who will be travelling to England and Germany in the summer to complete the research both for her current book project on musical settings of poetry by Heinrich Heine and the next book she is planning, entitled “Schubert’s Unknown Poets.” “The National Endowment for the Humanities enables scholars in many fields to have time free from other professorial duties in order to complete their large-scale projects, and scholars everywhere, myself included, are enormously grateful to them,” Youens said.Notre Dame ranks among the nation’s top six major research universities in the number of Arts and Letters faculty who have received other fellowships, including NEH fellowships, for work in the humanities, arts and social sciences during the past five years.”Notre Dame has been hiring the top scholars in the country for the past 15 to 20 years, and this is the primary reason the faculty here is tops in the nation for receiving grants,” said Ken Garcia, associate director of the Institute for Scholarship in Liberal Arts. “We think [having three winners] this year is great. With 20 winners in the past six years, we’re averaging about 3.2 NEH fellowships per year, and we’re very pleased to have that,” said Garcia, whose office assists faculty in applying for external grants by offering grant information, seminars, application assistance and proposal critiques. Youens is also not surprised that Notre Dame outpaces other universities in fellowship grants. “I think my colleagues here are quite extraordinary,” Youens said. “For grant organizations to recognize that fact seems only natural.”Created in 1965, NEH is an independent federal agency whose goal is to promote excellence in humanities by providing grants for projects in four general areas – preserving and providing access to cultural resources, education, research and public programs. The grants, which include a $40,000 stipend, are typically awarded to cultural institutions such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television and radio stations as well as to individual scholars.Proposals are evaluated by a panel of experts outside of NEH and are then submitted to the National Council on the Humanities. The council then makes recommendations to the NEH chairman, who has the final authority over which proposals receive the grant.