Barbara L. Shaw has been named the first recipient of the Brett ’65 and Gwendolyn ’64 Elliott Professorship for Interdisciplinary Studies at Allegheny College.
Shaw teaches in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and has been at Allegheny since 2009. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Colby College and a doctorate in American Studies with a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park.
“I am humbled by, and it is an honor to receive the Brett ’65 and Gwendolyn ’64 Elliott Professorship for Interdisciplinary Studies,” Shaw said. “I only know how to think across and through disciplinary boundaries and it is clear that to address the most pressing questions of the 21st century, higher education will need to blend the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.
“At Allegheny, I have had the good fortune to teach incredible students, work alongside tremendous colleagues to build the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, contribute to the Global Health Studies Program and the Black Studies Program,” Shaw said, “and write about the integration of women’s studies and LGBTQ+ studies as I have come through the tenure process.”
The Elliott Professorship will allow Shaw to spend more time mentoring and collaborating with students on research that analyzes the intersections of sexual and state violence in the Caribbean diaspora; to develop further two collaborative projects that have emerged from GLCA (Great Lakes Colleges Association) grants; and spend more time traveling to conferences with students and colleagues to discuss these works in progress before their publication, she said.
The Elliotts, both Allegheny graduates, established the professorship as part of Allegheny’s comprehensive fund-raising campaign, Our Allegheny: Our Third Century Quest.
“We both have that personal connection with the College, and so Allegheny has always held a special place in our hearts,” said Gwen Elliott, a retired librarian. “We come from library and science backgrounds so it is natural to be interested in disciplines working together.”
“For our nation to prosper, we need individuals well versed in the physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities,” said Brett Elliott, an ophthalmologist. “Allegheny has excellent curricula in these three critical categories, and we believe this professorship will prove valuable to students of all disciplines.”
Prior to endowing the professorship, the Delaware couple established the Brett and Gwendolyn Elliott Faculty Support Fund that has helped fill the College’s research and travel needs.
“It was my pleasure to spend time recently with Brett and Gwendolyn Elliott when they were on campus and I look forward staying in touch with them as interdisciplinary work grows at Allegheny,” Shaw said. “I extend my sincere thanks to the Elliotts for their generous gift and Provost Ron Cole and President Jim Mullen for this opportunity.”