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Three professors named Senior Faculty Research Fellows

A fellowship created by Elon University in 2008 will help support excellence in ongoing research and creative work by Janet MacFall, Drew Perry and Anthony Weston.

From left: Janet MacFall, Drew Perry and Anthony Weston

Elon University professors Janet MacFall, Drew Perry and Anthony Weston have been selected as Senior Faculty Research Fellows for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years.

To support excellence in ongoing scholarly work, the university created in 2008 the Senior Faculty Research Fellowship award, a highly competitive program for faculty with a minimum of seven years in rank at Elon. The award comprises a two-course reassignment for two consecutive years, plus $2,000 per year in research funding, in support of a significant project or set of projects that advance an already well-established and promising research agenda.

MacFall, an associate professor of environmental studies and biology, will use the award to advance her six years of work researching the biochemistry and ecology of Piedmont streams. During the two years of the award, she will research microbial activities in streambed soils and the influence of erosion on these processes. Historically, streams in the Piedmont had clear waters and were connected to their floodplains with low stream banks. Today’s tall and steep stream banks impair water quality and reduce regulation of the flow of pollutants from land to water. Preliminary research suggests that microbial enzyme activities are correlated with the stream bank height (or degree of erosion) and soil nutrients. MacFall’s work on the ecology of saturated soils and their ability to act as filters will be key to establishing and evaluating policies for water quality protection.

Perry, an associate professor of English, will use the award to complete, revise and submit for publication his third novel, which carries the working title of "The Unknowns." His first novel, "This Is Just Exactly Like You," received critical acclaim, and his second novel, "Kids These Days," to be released in January 2014, has been written up as “a timely look at contemporary America, with its economic setbacks and the bargains made to surmount them.” Perry’s third novel is more ambitious in size and scope. The first two were roughly contemporary, with single narrators, and covering a span of a few weeks or months. This third novel, situated around two Space Shuttle disasters of 1986 and 2003, is historical, with multiple narrators. It aims to be a Big American Novel, a book that asks big questions and seeks to comment on the American Experiment in more direct ways than his other two.

Weston, a professor of philosophy and previous recipient of the Daniels-Danieley (2002) and Distinguished Scholar (2007) awards, will use his new award to complete two book projects at the intersection of pedagogy and the philosophy of education. The first of his two book projects, nominally a textbook (though he admits that reviewers often describe his textbooks as not-textbooks), is tentatively titled "How Should We Teach? Twelve Philosophies of Education In and Beyond the Classroom." More focused on the pedagogical aspects of education than texts in the philosophy of education, it assumes that if every teaching method embodies deeply philosophical conceptions, students can therefore learn to discern and then critique the underlying philosophy by carefully analyzing the pedagogy. His second book project, tentatively titled "Teaching on the High Wire: Adventures of a Latter-Day Deweyan," aims to synthesize published, unpublished, and yet-written pieces into a philosophical narrative of his “whole practice as a teacher,” a deeply philosophical testament to engaged teaching and life as a teacher-scholar.

MacFall, Perry and Weston will join the three current Senior Faculty Research Fellows - Steve DeLoach, Cynthia Fair and Jeffrey Pugh (2013-15) - and they follow the previous nine Fellowship recipients: Kevin Boyle, David Crowe, and Megan Squire (2012-14), Laura Roselle and Joel Karty (2011-13), Clyde Ellis and Yoram Lubling (2010-12), and Anne Bolin and Mary Jo Festle (2009-11).

A call for applications for Senior Faculty Research Fellowships is announced early each fall. All faculty with a minimum of seven years in rank at Elon, established records of scholarship, and robust project proposals with the potential to significantly advance their research agendas are encouraged to apply.

Eric Townsend,
10/31/2013 9:35 AM