Patraka honored by BGSU for service as intellectual driving force

 

Dr. Vivian (Vicki) Patraka accepts the Distinguished Service Award from Dr. Kristine Blair, vice chair of Faculty Senate.

 

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Dr. Vivian (Vicki) Patraka, director of the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society (ICS), was presented the Faculty Distinguished Service Award March 22 for her inspiring leadership and elevation of intellectual discourse at BGSU.

The award recognizes continuing quality contributions to the University and includes a $1,000 prize.

Much of the important thinking and research in the humanities that has taken place at BGSU since 1996 has come out of ICS, which is dedicated to understanding cultural history, to reshaping studies in the humanities and the arts in the context of contemporary thought, and to promoting work across disciplines. ICS comprises term-long research residencies for BGSU faculty, interdisciplinary research cluster groups for faculty and graduate students, writing groups for professionally young and mid-career faculty, guest speakers and performers and ongoing conversations, seminars, and public talks about faculty research.

The faculty scholars who have flourished through the institute attribute their success in large part to the mentoring of Patraka.

“The meetings among each year’s fellows create a collaborative atmosphere in which Vicki steers the discussion—helping all of us to realize our goals and exchange constructive criticism in our research. In this way, Vicki is, first and foremost, a mentor,” wrote nominator Dr. Victoria Ekstrand, journalism and public relations and American culture studies.

Known for her incisive, searching insights into academic work, Patraka has helped many a scholar focus their research and develop themes for possible books. “With a keen sense of intuition, she is able to point out the weakest as well as the greatest strengths of anyone who seeks her advice,” said Dr. Radhika Gajjala, communication and interim director of women’s studies, who has been an ICS fellow and a member of the faculty writing group at the institute. Gajjala said she makes it a point to introduce new faculty interested in interdisciplinary research to Patraka.

Patraka has also been pivotal to guiding pre-tenure faculty through the process, said her nominators, and has been an invaluable mentor and model for women faculty. Several BGSU history faculty have received National Endowment for the Humanities grants, thanks in part to the guidance and support of an ICS faculty grant-writing group.

Patraka’s own areas of specialization include modern and contemporary theatre and drama, performance studies and American culture studies. She holds a joint appointment with that program and ICS.

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(Posted March 23, 2010 )