July 15, 2005

Two receive prestigious Cook Professorships

by Tom Woolf


Allison E. Joseph

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A veteran member of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s English department faculty and a brand new member of the Black American Studies faculty are the inaugural recipients of prestigious professorships.

Allison E. Joseph, associate professor of English, and Frank M. Chipasula, who is joining the Black American Studies department this fall as an associate professor, are recipients of Judge William Holmes Cook Endowed Professorships. Cook Professorships are three-year appointments that also provide $7,500 annually to the recipients to fund graduate assistantships, travel, summer stipends or other related uses.

Cook, a former SIUC student who had a long and distinguished legal career, donated $500,000 to the University through his estate. The purpose of the fund is the recruitment and retention of minority faculty.

Enhancing diversity on the campus is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

Provost and Vice Chancellor John M. Dunn said the award recognizes Joseph’s scholarly work and the University’s appreciation for her “commitment and creative activity.”

Joseph, an award-winning poet who joined the faculty in 1994, created and directs the annual Young Writers Workshop for high school students. She plans to use some of the discretionary funds she is receiving to support the program.

She also will use some of the money for the Roxana Rivera Memorial Poetry Contest, an annual campus-wide contest she coordinates with Women’s Studies.

“I’ve been paying for the contest prizes out of my own pocket, but now with the professorship, I can increase the award amounts,” Joseph said, noting she is “thrilled” to be one of the Cook Professorship recipients.

Chipasula, a native of Malawi, is an award-winning poet, editor and fiction writer. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Zambia, a master’s degree in Afro-American literature from Yale University, a master’s degree in creative writing from Brown University and a doctorate in English literature from Brown.

He has held faculty positions at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Howard University. He also taught at Brown and Yale.

Dunn said the award to Chipasula also acknowledges “the quality of your scholarly work and the University’s desire to support you and your future work.”