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Five Exceptional Pomona College Faculty Members Voted Wig Professors by Students

Students at Pomona College, one of the nation's premier liberal arts colleges, have elected professors Martha E. Andresen, Eleanor P. Brown, Sidney J. Lemelle, Gilda L. Ochoa, and Kenneth B. Wolf to receive the 2004 Wig Distinguished Professor Awards for Excellence in Teaching. The Award recognizes exceptional teaching, concern for students and service to the college and community.

The recipients of the Wig Awards are elected by the junior and senior classes and then confirmed by a committee of trustees, faculty and students. The awards were announced at Pomona's 111th Commencement held on May 16, 2004. They were established by Mr. and Mrs. R.J. Wig in 1955.

Martha E. Andresen, the Phebe Estelle Spalding Professor of English, is now a seven-time recipient of the award. In 1992, she was selected as the CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) California Professor of the Year and five years later, authored a chapter in Inspired Teaching: Carnegie Teaching Award Winners. A member of the faculty since 1972, she teaches the courses Major British Authors I, The English Lyric Before 1700, Shakespeare: The Comedies and Histories, Shakespeare: The Tragedies and Romances, Milton, and Advanced Shakespeare.

Student comments included: “Dr. Andresen can make a biology major excited about Shakespeare.” “[She] is very passionate about literature, and she infuses her lectures with this passion.” “At times, the resonance of her words speak directly to a student’s personal life, and every person’s struggle to come to terms with the world.” “Her amazingly articulate, philosophically profound lectures never fail to be touching as well as informative. She is well-known for her compassion as well as her scholarship.”

Andresen focuses her research on Shakespeare in performance, illustrated, in the classroom, and in relation to contemporary culture. Her articles have appeared in the Shakespeare Quarterly, Shakespeare Studies and Women’s Studies. Since 1972, she has given more than 400 lectures on Shakespeare and literature to a wide variety of audiences. Andresen earned her B.A., B.S. from the University of Minnesota and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University.

Eleanor P. Brown, the James Irvine Professor of Economics and co-coordinator of the Philosophy, Politics and Economics Program, has been a member of the faculty since 1986. Now a four-time Wig Award recipient, she teaches courses in Principles of Microeconomics; Microeconomic Theory; Gender, Family, and Roles in the Economy; Economics in the Public Sector; and Freedom, Markets and Well-Being.

Students say “She made Principles of Micro exciting and related it to life, even the Bare Naked Ladies!! She is an interesting, brilliant, and well-prepared professor.” “Prof. Brown actually made econ fun and understandable for someone like myself that probably would have hated it otherwise. Now that’s an accomplishment!!” “Her lively down-to-earth lectures and personable character allow students access to economics as well as her office, where she is happy to help with difficulties.” “She’s sneaky too. She’ll pose questions and tease along discussions that result in a self-realization of the lesson.”

Brown focuses her research on personal philanthropy, tax policy, the market for volunteer labor, not-for-profit organizations, unemployment insurance, and markets for childcare. Her most recent articles have been published in the Journal of Economic Education, Journal of Human Resources, Law and Contemporary Problems, and the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. Brown earned her B.A. from Pomona College and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton University.

Sidney J. Lemelle, now a three-time winner of the Wig Award, is an associate professor of History and Black Studies, as well as chair of the History Department. A member of the faculty since 1986, he was recently promoted to the rank of full professor, effective July 1. Lemelle teaches the courses: History of Africa to 1800; History of Africa, 1800 to Present; Pan-Africanism and Black Radical Traditions; Slavery and Freedom in the New World; and Industrialization and Social Change in South Africa.

Students find him “challenging and caring,” and “able to reach out to wherever the student is stuck.” “Professor Lemelle is an amazing teacher both in and out of the classroom.” “His classes have pushed me to learn more about the subject matter, and my shelves are now filled with books that were mentioned in his classes but not assigned material.” “He’s always a wonderful source of advice and insight. Just as importantly, he contributes to the campus community through his involvement with student organizations and events.”

Outside the classroom, Lemelle focuses his research on African American history, slavery, South Africa, Pan-Africanism, and the effects of regional "circum-Caribbean" migration by groups from Louisiana. He is the author of Pan-Africanism for Beginners (1992) and a co-editor Imagining Home: Class, Culture and Nationalism in the African Diaspora (1994) and Class, Culture and Nationalism in the Pan-African Diaspora (1993). Lemelle earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees from California State University, Los Angeles, and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Associate Professor of Sociology and Chicana/o Studies Gilda L. Ochoa has been a member of the faculty since 1997. She teaches the courses Chicanos/as in Contemporary Society; Introduction to Sociology; Los Angeles Communities; Chicanas and Latinas in the U.S.; Sociology of Race and Ethnicity; and Chicanos/Latinas and Education.

Students say “Professor Ochoa…provides not only the one-on-one commitment and attention, but she creates classrooms that incorporate multiple forms of knowledge and allows for all voices to be heard. No matter how tired we may be, she infuses her students with energy.” “She leads some of the most dynamic conversations I have had at this college.” “Her office hours are always overflowing with students for her classes, for mentorships or for outside projects.” “She is involved and engaged in the classroom, on campus and in the community.”

Ochoa’s research interests include: Chicanas/os in contemporary society, race/ethnicity, class and gender, communities and institutions, and immigration. Her current work focuses on the factors and situations that influence the relationships between Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants. She is the author of Becoming Neighbors in a Mexican American Community: Power, Conflict, and Solidarity (2004), and her articles have appeared in California Politics and Policy, Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, and the Social Science Quarterly. Ochoa earned her B.A. from the University of California, Irvine and both her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Kenneth B. Wolf, a professor of history, has been a member of the faculty since 1985. This is his fourth Wig Award. He teaches the courses Medieval Latin Readings; The Medieval Mediterranean; Christians, Muslims, and Jews in Medieval Spain; Saints and Society; Rationalizing Religion; and a freshman seminar on The Crusades.

Students find that “Professor Wolf is not only a brilliant instructor in class, but is always willing to put in extra time to continue the teaching/learning process outside of class.” “Best lecturer I ever had. Makes history fascinating without simplifying the issues or shying away from their difficulties (as experienced by the average undergraduate). Simply shares and instills his passion for the topic.” “If I succeed in becoming a professor in my own right, I will undoubtedly model my teaching after his.”

Wolf began his research career with a focus on early medieval Spain, with an emphasis on Christian-Muslim interaction and Christian views of Islam; and historiography and its relationship to conquest. He has concentrated his most recent research on St. Francis of Assisi (13th-century) and the kind of poverty-based sanctity that he personified, specifically the relationship between Francis' voluntary poverty and the involuntary poverty of the poor. He is currently working on a study of medieval poverty saints. A prolific author, he is the author of four books: The Poverty of Riches: St. Francis of Assisi Reconsidered (2003); Christian Martyrs in Muslim Spain (1988, Japanese trans, 1999); Conquerors and Chroniclers of Early Medieval Spain (1990; 1999); and The Normans and their Historians in Eleventh-Century Italy (1995). Wolf received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University.

Pomona College, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions, offers a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.