Two faculty members have been newly appointed to endowed chairs at Bowdoin: chemistry professor Elizabeth Stemmler and German associate professor Jill Smith. “I am delighted to announce these new chairs,” said Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd, who disclosed the appointments at the December faculty meeting. “Endowed chairs allow the College to provide important recognition and support for the achievements of our faculty.”
Elizabeth Stemmler (Chemistry) has been named the James Stacy Coles Professor of Natural Sciences. A professor at Bowdoin since 1988, Stemmler conducts research in analytical chemistry, gas-phase negative ion-molecule reactions, electron capture negative ion mass spectometry, and the analysis of organic pollutants. She and collaborator Patsy Dickinson (Biology and Neuroscience) have just been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to study molecular mechanisms underlying the nervous system of lobsters. Other recent grants awarded for Stemmler’s work include a Major Research Instrumentation grant from the NSF and a U.S. Department of Energy EPSCoR grant titled “Renewal: Thermal Conversion of Woody Biomass to Fuels and Chemicals.”
The James Stacy Coles chair was established by The Research Corporation in honor of James Stacy Coles, Bowdoin president from 1952-1967 and Research Corporation president from 1968-1982. Most recently held by emeritus professor Ron Christenson, the Coles chair supports a distinguished senior professor in the natural sciences. Stemmler will deliver an inaugural lecture for the chair next year.
Jill Smith (German) has been named the John S. Osterweis Associate Professor of German. The Osterweis chair is one of four that supports associate professors toward timely progression to promotion to full professor. Last held by Kristen Ghodsee of Gender and Women’s Studies, the chair appointment lasts up to six years and carries with it an annual research stipend. Smith will deliver a faculty lunch seminar talk next year to inaugurate her term in the chair.
Smith was the 2010 winner of Bowdoin’s Karofsky Prize, awarded each year to a junior faculty member who “best demonstrates the ability to impart knowledge, inspire enthusiasm and stimulate intellectual curiosity.” Her teaching and research encompass 19th- and 20th-century German literature, intellectual history, and culture, as well as gender and sexuality studies. Smith recently published a book, Berlin Coquette: Prostitution and the New German Woman, 1890-1933, and has another book project in the works: “War Crimes: The Bosnian Crisis in Contemporary German and Austrian Literature and Film.”