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Mellon Foundation renews funding for fellows

Postdoctoral scholars enrich teaching, research

Since 2001, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has supported postdoctoral fellows at Dartmouth in the humanities and social sciences and the grant was recently renewed providing $500,000 over the next four years. The fellowships support emerging scholars as they pursue academic careers.

John Bowes
John Bowes, 2004-2006 Mellon Fellow (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

"It's been an extremely successful program," said Jonathan Crewe, Director of the Fannie and Alan Leslie Center for the Humanities and Professor of English. "It's useful to bring people to Dartmouth who have recently earned their PhDs. They energize learning."

Crewe reported that the Mellon Fellows strengthen the departments they work in through teaching undergraduates at all levels, pursuing interdisciplinary research, networking with colleagues and participating in special events. He said that the selection committee, comprised of himself, Lenore Grenoble, Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Humanities and Professor of Russian and Linguistics and Cognitive Sciences, and Michael Mastanduno, Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Social Sciences and Nelson A. Rockefeller Professor of Government, primarily looks for scholarly accomplishment among the candidates.

The committee then matches the best candidates with a department that expresses a need and develops a plan to fully integrate a postdoctoral fellow into their group. Crewe said the committee's goal is to equally benefit both the academic department and the fellow.

 The 2004-2006 Mellon Fellow is John Bowes, who works in the Native American Studies (NAS) Department. Bowes earned his doctorate and master's degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his bachelor's degree from Yale. His current research focuses on the removal and post-removal experiences of Native Americans from the Great Lakes region in the 19th century. Specifically, he examines how the Delawares, Shawnees, Potawatomis and Wyandots attempted to maintain a measure of cultural and political autonomy during successive waves of American expansion.

"The personal and intellectual environment at Sherman House [the home of the NAS Department] has made my stay very enjoyable and productive so far," said Bowes. "Without a doubt one of the most significant benefits of this fellowship is the time I have to pursue my research. The research and teaching are my only obligations, so any time I'm not teaching or preparing to teach, I am writing and revising."

In addition to his research, Bowes is interested in curricular development as well as professional development. He is learning from his colleagues about becoming a more effective teacher and mentor to undergraduates.

"I want to make sure I take advantage of working within the NAS Department here. I am trained as a historian and it is important for me to learn as much as I can from my colleagues trained in other disciplines. There is a lot I can learn, and I only have two years."

More information about the Mellon Foundation and the Mellon Fellowship program can be found at http://www.mellon.org/

By SUSAN KNAPP

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 12/17/08