Faculty Spotlight: Jocelyn Wogan-Browne

Jocelyn Wogan-Browne

Congratulations to Jocelyn Wogan-Browne for receiving the 2017 Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring! The award was presented to her by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences on February 3rd at the annual Arts & Sciences Faculty Day, a celebratory event which honors Fordham’s faculty and their outstanding accomplishments in teaching and pedagogy.

In her laudatio, Eva Badowska (Dean of GSAS), who was out of town and whose speech was eloquently read by John Harrington (Associate Vice President and Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences) wrote “that Fordham had the foresight, not to mention the good fortune, to hire her not once, but twice. The intervening years were, we think, merely an interlude between the acts proper.”

Quoting from students’ comments, Dr Badowska noted that “the honoree’s students uniformly attest to her dedication both to their intellectual development and to their professional success. Her advisees say she conveys “unconditional respect and support” for them, along with “total confidence in [their] ability to succeed.” They speak of the “staggering amount of work” she puts into the “substantial feedback and comments” on their writing, but also say that she “waves off thanks with her characteristic insistence that this work is ‘a pleasure’ or ‘just a part of the job.’” She provides coaching on both research practice and “how to maintain a balanced personal life” (we could all use such coaching!). And her mentoring continues after the dissertation is done; one student reports that our honoree has provided helpful feedback on work “even when I don’t request it.”

Our honoree--like many of us--is not immune to absent-minded professor syndrome. She once spent a transatlantic flight working on a student’s dissertation chapter--and then left it on the plane! However, our intrepid honoree printed the document again after landing, and managed to reproduce the helpful comments and suggestions a second time. This is typical of her dedication to her students, which can come in the form an e-mail out of the blue containing a useful reference for a student’s work, or in the shape of a weekly Pugsley’s pizza for an evening graduate class, or in a Botanical Gardens experience.

Her generous spirit of collaboration is evident throughout her scholarship, where she has not just started whole new research conversations but actively helped other scholars make careers by joining those dialogues. That spirit has also benefited both graduate students and departmental colleagues. She uses most of her supplemental research fund to sponsor a departmental colloquium at which colleagues near to and far from her field can share work with other faculty and graduate students.

Though anyone unfamiliar with her work might think that field highly unlikely to connect with contemporary political and social issues, the honoree's is insistent that her work on issues many hundreds of years help us understand of gender and sexuality and racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity in our present.”

The Center for Medieval Studies joins Dr Badowska in celebrating Jocelyn Wogan-Browne’s accomplishments and thanks her for her many years of teaching and mentoring – here is to many more to come!