Davidson, Libby, and Tatari Receive Cornell Distinguished Faculty Awards

Three Rollins professors—Alice Davidson, Susan Libby, and Eren Tatari—have been recognized for exemplary teaching, research, and service.

(Photos by Scott Cook) (Photos by Scott Cook)

The Cornell Distinguished Faculty Award was established by the Board of Trustees of Rollins College in honor of beloved alumnus and longtime trustee George D. Cornell ’35 ‘85H. Bestowed each year by the College of Liberal Arts, the award commends up to three exceptional faculty members who have achieved remarkable professional accomplishments in teaching, research, and service. Recipients hold the title of Cornell Distinguished Faculty for three academic years. They also receive a $5,000 stipend each of the three years, which can be established as a research account, exchanged in $2,500 increments for course release, or added to salary as a stipend.

This year’s recipients are Associate Professor of Psychology Alice Davidson, Professor of Art Susan Libby, and Associate Professor of Political Science Eren Tatari.

(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)

Alice Davidson

Associate Professor of Psychology
Davidson has always been passionate about involving students in her community-based research. She leads The Narrative Project, which focuses on the ways children make sense out of emotional experiences and peer conflict through the personal narratives they share, and how narrative skills impact children's social adjustment. This collaborative work, which she started as an undergraduate student at Rhodes College, has engaged numerous Rollins students in every step of the research process, from data collection to presentations at international conferences.

“When I started at Rollins over 8 years ago, I made the conscious decision to establish a coherent program of research that not only would address important questions about child development but also would help students develop a wide range of transferable skills and prepare them to excel in graduate school,” Davidson says. “As a graduate of a liberal arts institution in which I received undergraduate research experience and superb mentoring, I know firsthand the value of faculty-student research collaborations.”

The Cornell Distinguished Faculty Award will allow Davidson to expand further on what she believes is her strongest contribution to Rollins—building a bridge to the Orlando area by involving students in community-based learning and research. She plans to expand her narrative research to a college population in two ways: by collaborating with colleagues in the Department of Psychology to study the important role of ‘others’ in undergraduate students’ life-story narratives and by working with colleagues in the Department of Education to help undergraduate students identify key dispositions in young children that promote a positive learning experience and connect those dispositions to their own educational experience. As with all of her previous scholarship, these initiatives will involve Rollins students.

Davidson’s research has resulted in multiple publications, including Conflict Narratives in Middle Childhood: The Social, Emotional, and Moral Significance of Story-sharing, a co-authored book out this spring from Routledge Press.


(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)

Susan Libby

Professor of Art History
Since coming to Rollins in 1998, Libby has taught European and American art history from the 18th through the 20th century. In addition to a range of art history courses, she also teaches interdisciplinary thematic courses such as Picturing War, Culture Wars, and most recently, Plunder or Property, a course about international disputes over cultural property. She has also led an international field study in Paris. In all of her classes, Libby strives to foster an engaged and welcoming environment in which students are encouraged to think critically about how visual representation reflects and shapes past and present cultures.

Libby’s scholarship concerns the visual and material culture of French Caribbean slavery, as well as issues of race as they pertain to slavery. In addition to publishing articles in this area, she is co-editor of and contributor to a book, Blacks and Blackness in European Art of the Long Nineteenth Century. She is co-curator of The Black Figure in the European Imaginary, an exhibition currently on view at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. The exhibition features works of art from different museums that show the variety of ways in which Europeans perceived people of African descent during a time of colonialism and imperialism. She also co-wrote the essay for the exhibition catalogue. Libby’s students in the Department of Art and Art History’s Museum Studies Practicum course curated an accompanying exhibition, Reframing the Picture, Reclaiming the Past, which assembles art by contemporary artists whose work responds to past racial stereotypes.

Libby also has served on numerous committees, chaired her department, and is currently a member of the Faculty Evaluation Committee. She has also reviewed stipend applications for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“The Cornell Distinguished Faculty Award is not only a tremendous honor, but will be invaluable in supporting the research travel necessary to fulfill my scholarship goals,” Libby says. “It will also help to support the creation of academic experiences connected to my scholarship, in particular contemporary global issues of human exploitation.”


(Photo by Scott Cook) (Photo by Scott Cook)

Eren Tatari

Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Middle East and North African Studies Program
Tatari is the director of Rollins’ Middle East and North African Studies Program and is an associate professor of political science. She teaches courses on comparative politics, Middle East politics, Muslims in Western politics, research methods, and Islam and politics. Tatari specializes in ethnic and religious minorities in the U.S. and Western Europe, Middle East politics, minority rights, politics, and religion.

Her recent publications include Surrendering to God: Understanding Islam in the Modern Age and Muslims in British Local Government: Representing Minority Interests in Hackney, Newham, and Tower Hamlets.

“I am honored to be selected for this award and to work alongside amazing professors who are dedicated to serve the liberal arts,” Tatari says.