Institute presents Schwab Excellence Award to 20 faculty

March 23, 2016 | M. Clay

Nelson Schwab is co-founder and senior advisor with Carousel Capital. Schwab earned a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1967 and an M.B.A. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1972. Previously at UNC, Schwab served as the chair of the UNC Board of Trustees, on the UNC-Chapel Hill Endowment Fund Board, the UNC Kenan-Flagler Board of Visitors, the UNC Board of Visitors, and the 2013 Campaign Planning Cabinet.


Hyde Hall in the FallThe Institute for the Arts and Humanities has announced the 20 winners of this year’s Schwab Academic Excellence Awards.

The $3,000 prize recognizes one faculty member in each College of Arts and Sciences department across the arts, humanities and qualitative sciences. Department chairs nominate faculty for the award.

Former IAH Advisory Board Chair Julia Sprunt Grumbles (who is now a member of the University Board of Trustees) established the award in 2015 to help department chairs recognize teaching and scholarship. IAH Advisory Board Vice Chair Nelson Schwab III (’67, English) recently endowed the fund.

Awardees may use the funds to advance their teaching or scholarship. “We thought this way of giving to the chairs was the best way to retain the best and brightest at Carolina, a goal of mine, since I began supporting the Institute,” said Schwab, co-founder and senior advisor at Carousel Capital and past chair of the University Board of Trustees.

The full list of awardees by department:

  • Religious Studies: Joseph Lam

    “The award will support my current research project, ‘How Sacrifice Became Atoning,’ which examines both textual material and archaeological data to interrogate varying conceptions of sacrifice in ancient Israel and the broader Near East.”

  • Political Science: Tim Ryan

    “I’m thrilled and honored to receive the IAH Academic Excellence Award. I plan to put these funds to good use in the coming year testing how psychology can help us understand and bridge political divides.”

  • Philosophy: Mariska Leunissen

    “I am most grateful for this award, which couldn’t have come at a better time. It will be a great help in the months to come to finish the production process of my current book project (From Natural Character to Moral Virtue in Aristotle), while jump-starting my new project on problems and problem-solving strategies in Aristotle’s natural science.”

  • Music: Allen Anderson

    This is particularly meaningful for me, as I hold the IAH and its commitment to faculty research and the exchange of ideas in the highest regard. I deeply appreciate this recognition. I will put the award to good use, helping to fund a recording of several recent compositions.”

  • Linguistics: Jennifer L. Smith“I was very excited when I found out that I had won this award.  I plan to use the award funds toward my current research projects, in which I am applying cutting-edge methods of conducting ‘language experiments’ in order to investigate how humans learn and use the structure of sounds (such as consonants, vowels, or syllables) in language.”
  • History: Chad Bryant

    “This award will allow me to pursue my current book project, Imagination City: Prague in the Modern Era. It is especially meaningful to receive this recognition from the IAH. I have always admired the IAH’s efforts to promote intellectual creativity while promoting thoughtful, meaningful discussions.”

  • Germanic and Slavic Language and Literature: Gabriel Trop

    “I feel grateful. This summer I have been invited to the University of Tübingen for a visiting professorship in May, during which time I will participate in a summer workshop program, as well as hold talks and seminars on Flaubert, Hegel, Schiller, and Joyce. I will also participate in conferences and workshops in Vienna (centering on “Red Vienna,” or Vienna from 1918-1934) and Utrecht for the American Comparative Literature Association conference. I intend to use the funds from the award to help defray the cost of these events, and I express my sincerest gratitude for this generous financial support. 

  • Geography: Betsy Olson

    “I’m so very grateful for this award. It will allow me to complete some critical research for my manuscript on the phenomena of the Progressive Era’s ‘Little Mothers,’ children who cared for their infant siblings, and the leagues created across the U.S. to educate them as part of a strategic campaign to reduce infant mortality at that time.

  • English and Comparative Literature: Jane Thrailkill

    “Often, faculty and researchers spend hours and hours writing grants for uncertain returns. This feels like a true gift, unexpected funds that will allow HHIVE lab to do something extra: bring in a visiting speaker, top up a student’s research grant, or send a team member to a national conference.”

  • Dramatic Art: Jeffrey Cornell

    “I’m honored and excited to use this award to support my artistic research and my teaching.  How the theatrical event can lead and challenge society has never been more important, and I’m grateful for the IAH’s recognition and support.”  

  • Communication: Julia Haslett

    “This builds on all the support and mentoring the IAH has provided me since coming to Carolina almost three years ago. I plan to use the funds to continue filming on my current project, Pushed up the Mountain, a documentary film about nature conservation in southwest China.”

  • City and Regional Planning: Nikhil Kaza

    “I am delighted to receive this award. It will be used to support work on characterizing informal and irregular settlements in India through satellite imagery and field work.”

  • Classics: Sharon L James

    “It came as a complete but very welcome surprise.  The award will support my travel to Italy to use archive resources and to another conference.” 

  • Asian Studies: Uffe Bergeton

    “It will enhance my research on the history of early Chinese thought through changes in language. More specifically, it will allow me to promote my first book, Coining Chinese Civilization: History Word By Word, do research for my second book project on the conceptual history of warfare in ancient China, and cover expenses related to my ongoing digital humanities projects.”

  • Art: Victoria Rovine

    “I’m so pleased to receive this award, which will enable me to pursue my research on the many roles of clothing and textiles in the cultural politics of colonial-era France and West Africa.  It means a great deal to be recognized by the Institute, the standard bearer for support of the arts and humanities here at UNC.”

  • Anthropology: Dale Hutchinson

    “I am honored and grateful to be considered for and to receive an IAH Academic Excellence Award.  Some or all of the award will contribute to the costs of research travel for my next book, The Archaeology of Health and Well-Being.”

  • American Studies: Keith Richotte

    “I am deeply grateful to receive this award and I thank my chair for nominating me.  I will use it to continue my research into tribal governmental systems and toward my work as an associate justice on the Turtle Mountain Tribal Court of Appeals.”

  • African, African American and Diaspora Studies: Lydia Boyd

    “Funding for faculty research is so essential, and a grant like this will enable me to conduct a valuable summer research trip to lay the foundation for my new project. Preliminary research trips such as this make all the difference when it comes to securing larger grants that sustain longterm projects.”

  • Romance Studies: Jessica Tanner

    I am so grateful for this award, which will allow me to travel to France this summer and begin research on my new book project, on weather and climate in 19th-century France.”

  • Sociology: Neal Caren

    “Receiving an IAH Schwab Academic Excellence Award was unexpected delight. The funding will be used to support a graduate student working on a new project that seeks to understand trends in contemporary U.S. protests.”