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Three Professors Receive Whiting Foundation Fellowships

May 24, 2012by Susan Silverman

The Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation has granted fellowships to three professors from Franklin Pierce University. Dr. John Harris, Robert Diercks, and Susan Silverman were among the 27 out of 93 applicants who received the award in this year’s grant cycle. The Whiting Foundation fellowships were established in 1965 for New England teachers at the college or university level to enable them to study abroad at some location(s) other than that with which they are most closely associated; the aim is to stimulate and broaden the minds of teachers in order to enhance the quality of their instruction.

Dr. John Harris is a faculty member in the English and American Studies Department and serves as the Executive Director of the Monadnock Institute of Nature, Place and Culture at Franklin Pierce University.  While on sabbatical, Dr. Harris has been retracing the steps of naturalist Edwin Teale’s five-month 1947 journey to follow the progression of the spring season from Florida to the Canadian border.  Dr. Harris will use the Whiting Foundation fellowship to document the changes he observes in the natural world at locations Teale visited 65 years earlier; the account will be in print and audio, designed for a non-scientific audience. He is following the same routes, observing from identical locations, tracking the same species, interacting with a new generation of scientists, naturalists, tourists and residents, and highlighting what has remained constant and what has changed. 

Robert Diercks is a professor of Graphic Communications at Franklin Pierce University who has worked in the graphics field for many years as a free-lance illustrator, artist, calligrapher, and printer. Diercks is using his Whiting Foundation fellowship to make a trip from northern France along the North Sea through Belgium, the Netherlands, and into Germany to the city of Schwerin near the Baltic Sea, where he will visit museums and foundations that house smaller art works. He will also draw and paint from the same landscape that these artists looked at and from which they derived their inspiration.

Susan Silverman is an Assistant Professor in Fine Arts at Franklin Pierce University, with an emphasis on ceramics and printmaking; she also operates a pottery studio next to her home in Fitzwilliam, N.H. Silverman will be using her Whiting Foundation fellowship in conjunction with a sabbatical in the spring of 2013 to delve further into the study of printmaking. She will research the use of nontoxic, safer techniques used to create intaglio prints and explore how she can utilize these printmaking methods to produce a new body of her own artwork. Silverman will travel to a printmaking studio in Edinburgh, Scotland, and to Aberystwyth University in Wales, where she will study alternative printmaking methods with Andrew Baldwin.

Harris, Diercks, and Silverman all plan to use the information and/or skills that they acquire as a result of the opportunities awarded by the Whiting Foundation fellowships to enhance the quality of their teaching at Franklin Pierce University.




                 An education that matters.

Franklin Pierce University is a regionally accredited university grounded in the liberal arts, with a focus on personal attention and high-quality instruction. The University consists of the College at Rindge and the College of Graduate & Professional Studies with locations in Arizona and throughout New Hampshire. Degrees are offered through the doctoral level. The institutional mission embraces an education that matters: one that achieves academic success through the integration of liberal arts and professional programs. Our community of educators and learners creates an environment that fosters intellectual curiosity and encourages experiential and applied learning. A Franklin Pierce experience enables each student to discover and fulfill his or her own unique potential. We prepare students to become confident, knowledgeable individuals and leaders of conscience.

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