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College announces ‘Kenan Distinguished Professorships’

May 10, 2018
by Bobbie Stewart

Four Flagler College professors were selected as recipients of the college’s newly-established Kenan Distinguished Professorships this spring — endowed positions that recognize excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.

Dr. Michael Butler and Professor Patrick Moser were chosen as permanent recipients and Drs. Allison Roberts and John Young were selected as three-year awardees.

“We are supporting excellence in education with the professorships,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Dr. Alan Woolfolk. “These individuals are superb teachers and have made significant contributions to establishing a standard of excellence at Flagler.”

The named positions also highlight Flagler’s progress since its founding 50 years ago.

“We’ve gone from one to five endowed positions overnight,” Woolfolk added. “That’s significant for us. It is a powerful statement about the academic development of the college.”

The professorships were funded through the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust Professorship Fund. The permanent professorships recognize outstanding professional achievement while the rotational professorships recognize outstanding contributions to advancing liberal education. Former President Dr. William T. Abare, Jr., and the Office of Institutional Advancement played an integral role in securing the $2 million endowment that supports the professorships. President Dr. Joseph Joyner and Woolfolk moved forward with making them a reality.

Dr. Timothy Johnson holds the college’s first endowed position — the Craig and Audrey Thorn Distinguished Professor of Religion, established in 2014.

Dr. Michael Butler, Kenan Distinguished Professor of History

Butler is a scholar of 20th-century Southern History, specializing in the Civil Rights movement. His 2016 book, titled “Beyond Integration: The Black Freedom Struggle in Escambia County, Florida, 1960-1980,” examines how institutional forms of cultural racism persisted well beyond the visible signs of racial integration in the 1960s. He has delivered lectures across the state on topics including the Jim Crow South, the work of Dr. Martin Luther King in St. Augustine, police brutality and confederate imagery and the struggle for racial equality. Most recently, Butler was selected as one of seven members for the City of St. Augustine’s Confederate Memorial Contextualization Advisory Committee. At Flagler, he teaches courses in American History, African-American History, Slavery in the United States and The Civil Rights Movement. He is the recipient of the college’s Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2010 to 2011) and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Professional Development (2014 to 2015). Originally from Mobile, Ala., he received both his master’s and doctorate degrees in History from the University of Mississippi. Butler will present his paper, "'A Soulful Prophet of the Chosen People:' Isaac Hayes, 'Black Moses,' and the post-1960s American Black Freedom Struggle" at the Historians of the Twentieth Century United States conference at Cambridge University this summer.

Professor Patrick Moser, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Art

Moser is an award-winning video artist and painter who exhibits his work regionally, nationally and internationally. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions in London, Spain, Armenia, Austria, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and throughout the United States. At Flagler, he has held numerous academic and leadership positions, including chair of the Department of Art and Design from 2010 to 2013 and BFA program coordinator since 2006, and has served on the Honors Program Steering Committee and Faculty Senate. He teaches courses in Video Art, Painting, Drawing, Art History and Senior Portfolio. In 2014, he was awarded the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. This summer, he will fulfill a Teaching Artist Residency at the Wayfarers Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. He earned his MFA in Painting from the University of Florida in 2000.

Allison Roberts, Kenan Distinguished Associate Professor of Liberal Education in Economics

Roberts, chair of the Business Administration Department since 2013, is the recipient of multiple grants and has published widely in the areas of econometrics and labor. She has held several leadership positions at Flagler, including co-founder of the Business Advisory Board, chair of the Admissions Committee, vice chair of Faculty Senate and chair of the Constitution Committee. She was the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Leadership and Service (2010 to 2011) and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2014 to 2015). Roberts is currently working on a book titled “Advancing the Well-Being of Nations: The Economics of Educating Girls,” which analyzes the social rate of return of educating girls in the developing world. At Flagler, she teaches Principles of Microeconomics, Principles of Macroeconomics and The Economics of Education, among other courses. She received a doctoral degree in Economics from Northern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Mathematics from Lake Forest College.

John Young, Kenan Distinguished Associate Professor of Liberal Education in History

Young has taught nearly 30 courses at Flagler, from those focusing on European and African History to those delving into the culture, politics and economics of the high Middle Ages. He holds a particular interest in monasticism and Jewish-Christian relations, as well as a secondary research interest in Mormon Studies. He has served on seven different committees for Flagler’s Faculty Senate and is the coordinator of the college’s graduate fellowships. In the fall of 2015, he spent a year abroad at the University of Würzburg as a visiting professor. Most recently, he co-edited “Preaching and New Worlds” (forthcoming this year) with Flagler’s Dr. Timothy Johnson and alumna Katie Wrisley-Shelby. Young holds doctoral and master's degrees in Medieval Studies from the University of Notre Dame, a diploma in Jewish Studies from the University of Oxford, and a bachelor's degree in history from Brigham Young University.


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