Symposium celebrates artistic ventures

Sovi Herring | Staff Writer

March 16, 2023

The Wimmer Symposium this Tuesday highlighted the research and service projects of pre-tenured faculty in the Duquesne community.

The Wimmer Awards are a competitive award for non-tenured faculty through the Wimmer Family Foundation, funded by the Kamin family.

The award itself helps aspiring faculty in the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts with various projects, research, conferences and even community service programs, said Liberal Arts College Dean Kristine Blair. Projects cover a wide range of disciplines and goals, all of which were displayed during the Wimmer Symposium.

The symposium was an all-day affair on March 14 at the Power Center, and the event was packed with panels that consisted of previous Wimmer Award recipients talking about how the award impacted their specific projects and how that determined the next steps in their careers.

This year’s Wimmer Symposium represetned over twenty years of support from the Kamins’ foundation, Blair said in her opening remarks.

Event talks consisted of current faculty members from every department of the college. Topics ranged from holy communion to sex education to the dimensions of autism. The concurrent panels had audiences of faculty, staff and students from across various programs on campus.

Panelists reflected on their time as pre-tenured, assistant professors – the type of faculty the Wimmer Award aims to help on their academic and scholarship journey in a competitive setting.

The first set of awards were issued in 2001. With the symposium consisting of historical and future milestones, awardees had the opportunity to give thanks to the Kamins’ generosity.

Sam and Joan Kamin, the family that made the past two decades of continued scholarship possible, attended the symposium. While they have met most of the Wimmer awardees previously, this symposium gave them the opportunity to see the broader scope of winners’ successes.

Philipp Stelzel’s “History After Hitler: A Transatlantic Enterprise” was particularly interesting, the Kamins said, as was Kelly Arenson’s discussion on how she used Wimmer funds to attend conferences and complete research tasks.

Mr. Sam Kamin mentioned that he is a “political animal” and most of the panels he saw “interested [him] to learn more” — panels such as the “Liberty, Order, and Political Ideology” with Clifford Bob, Mark Haas and Luke Sheahanl and “The Panic Industrial Complex: Scaring America for Power and Profit.”

Meanwhile, Joan Kamin attended a separate set of presentations. She found Elizabeth Fein’s presentation and research for “Not Alone: Autism in Social, Cultural and Historical Context” intriguing as a board member for the Center for Autism Research.

Overall, the Kamins were pleased with the symposium’s ability to share the scholarship and accomplishments of those that have been impacted by the Wimmer Award.

“It has been a true pleasure for Sam and Joan Kamin to support and [be active] with the work of the aspiring faculty…and their continued interest in faculty development,” said Blair.

Blair laid out some of the ways the awardees would be eligible to use these funds: “traveling for an archive, purchasing research data, developing a course, creating a lab and hiring student workers to assist, professional development.” These opportunities help them improve their teaching and research, she said.

The Wimmer Award strives “to capture the diversity of the [McAnulty] Liberal Arts College [with] research benchmarks [that] differ from the standard benchmark in the hard sciences,” Blair said.

The Wimmer Award application is offered to non-tenured Duquesne faculty of the McAnulty Liberal Arts College on an annual basis. All eligible individuals are encouraged to look into this award and possible symposium in the future.