1995 Faculty Profiles
Professor of Slavic Languages Robert L. Belknap has taught Literature Humanities since 1957. His commitment to the Core Curriculum extends far beyond the classroom: he has chaired the Literature Humanities program on several occasions, chaired the Committee on Educational Policy (the Belknap Committee) in 1970 and co-authored (with Richard Kuhns) Tradition and Innovation. General Education and the Reintegration of the University: A Columbia Report (1970). Professor Belknap received the Award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum in 2000-2001.
The art historian Richard Brilliant is currently Anna S. Garbedian Professor of the Humanities. He not only has taught both Art Humanities and Contemporary Civilization since the 1970s, but he also holds the unique distinction of chairing both programs. Among Professor Brilliant's many honors is the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates in 1990.
John D. Rosenberg '50 is currently William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature. A specialist in Victorian literature, Professor Rosenberg is also a mainstay of the Literature Humanities program, which he has also chaired. An active alumnus, Professor Rosenberg received the Golden Lion Award for Distinguished Service to the College Alumni Association in 1982. Professor Rosenberg received the Award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum in 1996-1997.
John Mitchell Mason Professor Emeritus Wm. Theodore de Bary '41 was instrumental in establishing Asian humanities and civilization courses at Columbia. He received the Great Teacher Award in 1969, the Lionel Trilling Book Award in 1983 and the Mark Van Doren Award for Great Teaching in 1987. De Bary served as Provost of the University from 1971 to 1978 and has been director of the Heyman Center for the Humanities since its inception.
Professor Emeritus of History Ainslie T. Embree taught core courses in Asian Civilizations and Humanities for twenty-six years and Con-temporary Civilization for eighteen years. He also chaired the Asian Studies and CC programs. Winner of the Mark Van Doren Award for Great Teaching in 1985, Professor Embree received the second award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum in 1995. Professor Embree received the Award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum in 1994-1995.
Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature Emeritus, James V. Mirollo has taught Literature Humanities since 1973. Longtime chair of this program, Professor Mirollo received the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Graduates in 1988, he was co-recipient of the first Award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum in 1993, and he was honored with the Mark Van Doren Award for Great Teaching in 1995.
The following profiles have been updated since their original publication in 1995:
Professor of History Marcia Wright has taught Contemporary Civilization since the early 1970s. She has also chaired the program. A specialist in Eastern and Southern African history, Professor Wright has taught the African Civilizations course from its inception. She received her B.A. from Wellesley in 1957 and her Ph.D. from University of London in 1966. Her publications include German Missions in Tanganyika, 1891–1941 (1971), Strategies of Slaves & Women: Life-Stories from East/Central Africa (1993), and "An Old Nationalist in New Nationalist Times, Zambia: 1948–1963," in Journal of Southern African Studies, 23/2 (1997). She also co-edited African Women and the Law: Historical Perspectives (1982), and Women's Health and Apartheid : the Health of Women and Children and the Future of Progressive Primary Health Care in Southern Africa (1988). She received the Award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum in 1996-1997.
William R. Shepherd Professor of History Emeritus Eugene F Rice Jr. is a specialist in Renaissance Europe. Since the 1960s Professor Rice has been a mainstay of the Contemporary Civilization course, which he has also chaired. Rice's works include The Renaissance Idea of Wisdom (Harvard 1958), The Foundations of Early Modern Europe, 1460-1559 (Norton 1970) and Saint Jerome in the Renaissance(Johns Hopkins 1985). He also edited The Prefatory Epistles of Jacques Lefevre d'Etaples and Related Texts (Columbia 1972). He received the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates in 1984.
Edward W. Tayler is currently Lionel Trilling Professor in the Humanities. He began teaching Literature Humanities in 1960 and has remained a stalwart supporter of the core curriculum ever since. Professor Tayler received the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates in 1985, the Mark Van Doren Award for Great Teaching in 1986, and the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching in 1996. The citation for the latter award described Professor Tayler as "an educational innovator, revered classroom teacher, and devoted mentor to both undergraduate and graduate students. Your students call you magical, learned and passionate, tough yet tender, witty, humane, wholly unique. Many report that you have changed their lives." Professor Tayler received the Award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum in 1998-1999.
Professor of English Emeritus Carl Hovde '50 has served the core curriculum as both teacher and administrator. A longtime teacher of Literature Humanities, Professor Hovde served as dean of the College from 1968 to 1972, when the core underwent fundamental changes. He received the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates in 1975. Since his retirement in 1995 he has served as chair of the Friends of the Heyman Center and also is a member of the Society of Senior Scholars. Professor Hovde received the Award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum in 1997-1998.
Longtime teacher of Contemporary Civilization and chair of the program, J. W. Smit is the Queen Wilhelmina Professor of Dutch History, Language and Literature. Past chairman of the Standing Committee on the Core Curriculum, Professor Smit received the Mark Van Doren Award for Great Teaching in 1984 and was co-recipient of the first Award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum in 1993. His published works include Fruin en de Partijen Tijdens de Republiek (1958), and "History of Art," in D. Freedberg & J. de Vries, eds., Art in History, History in Art, Studies in 17th Century Dutch Culture (1991).
As a member of the Department of English and Comparative Literature, Professor Emeritus Wallace Gray taught Literature Humanities for over thirty years. His experiences teaching this course formed the basis for his celebrated book Homer to Joyce (1985). He received the Award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum in 1997-1998. Professor Gray continued to teach the course as a member of the Society of Senior Scholars until his death in 2001.