Professor Munro Named Kemp Award Winner
Professor of Political Science
April 13, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Illinois Wesleyan University Professor of Political Science William
Munro has been named the 2012 winner of the Kemp Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence
on Wednesday, April 13, at the annual Honors Convocation in Westbrook Auditorium of
One of the highlights of the academic year, the Convocation is a chance to celebrate
the scholastic achievements of the students and faculty on campus. The Kemp teaching
award, which is the University's highest teaching honor, is bestowed annually to a
faculty member at the Convocation. Rene Shaffer attended the ceremony to represent
the Kemp family, which has a long history of supporting Illinois Wesleyan.
The Convocation, which also honors students and faculty of national and international
honors societies, included reminiscences from Class of 2011 Vice President Melissa
Solis '11, and an invocation from student Hillel member Amanda Packman '11.
Announcing the Kemp award winner was Interim University Provost Frank Boyd, who lauded
Munro's internationally renown scholarship, campus leadership and high standards in
the classroom. Students know that with Munro they will "embark on a joint effort of
learning," said Boyd, who declared Munro a personable mentor to many, saying he is
"known for his immediately recognizable sense of humor, his formidable intellect and
a modesty that attempts to hide his impressive academic pedigree."
Munro, who is the director of Illinois Wesleyan's International Studies Program, teaches
courses in international politics at Illinois Wesleyan with emphasis on African social
movements. A scholar of the politics of state formation and development in the global
south, as well as the international food economy, Munro is the author of The Moral Economy of the State: Conservation, Community Development, and State-Making in Zimbabwe (Ohio University Center for International Studies, 1998), and co-author of Fighting for the Future of Food: Activists versus Agribusiness in the Struggle over Biotechnology (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), which explores the debate over genetically
modified seeds. His scholarly works have been published in academic journals such
as the American Journal of Sociology, Comparative Politics and African Rural and Urban Studies, and he has contributed book chapters to texts such as Reconstructing Biotechnologies: Critical Social Analysis (Wageningen Academic Press, 2008) and Frontiers of Commodity Chain Research (Stanford University Press, 2008).
Munro joined the Illinois Wesleyan faculty in 2000. He earned a doctorate in political
science from Yale University, a bachelor's and master's degree from Cambridge University,
and a bachelor's from Natal University in South Africa. He is an honorary research
fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, and a research scholar
at the Center for African Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Active in his service to Illinois Wesleyan, Munro has served as a co-coordinator of
the Development Studies Team, and as a faculty advisor to the IWU chapter of Amnesty
International and to the International House on campus. He was a member of the Committee
for a Sustainable Campus, and the first-year advisory board. He also served as chair
for the Technos Award Selection Committee. Currently, along with his duties for the
International Studies Program, Munro is a member of the African Studies Team, the
International Studies Steering Committee, and works with the John and Erma Stutzman
Peace Fellows Program.
Munro is a past winner of a Fullbright Placement Fellowship, and is a member of the
Phi Kappa Phi national honorary society and Phi Beta Delta international honorary
In addition to the announcement of the Kemp Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence
winner, the Convocation was an occasion to recognize numerous student scholastic honors
and retiring faculty. The afternoon event also recognized four retiring faculty members
who were awarded the status of faculty emeritus -- Associate Professor of Music and
Head of the Voice and Choral Department Sammy G. Scifres with 44 years, Professor
of Music Tom Streeter with 40 years, Professor of Nursing Connie Dennis with 38 years,
and Professor of Nursing Sharie Metcalfe with 32 years.
Professor of English Dan Terkla described "Intertwinglement"
in his Convocation address.
The speaker for the Convocation was Professor of English Dan Terkla, who was the 2011
Kemp teaching award winner. Shaffer presented Terkla with the teaching award, along
with the Kemp family's appreciation for his achievements.
In Terkla's speech for the Convocation, titled "Intertwinglement; or a Request by
Way of a Story," he encouraged students to see the connections and building of narrative
networks throughout their academic lives.
Detailing his own journey into teaching and scholarly studies, Terkla spoke of his
youth in southern California, traveling along the Pacific Coast Highway, sharing stories
with people he met along the way. "As we wanna-be mad ones traveled - questing would
be an overstatement - had conversations and heard tales that induced in us perspectival
shifts," said Terkla. "We wove into the texts of our lives the stories of others,
and they wove our stories into theirs."
The drive for social networks pulled him to teaching, which he regarded as an opportunity
to share accumulated experiences through art. "Each time we read or study an artwork,
we chart an alternate route through or over it, discovering and linking different
centers of attention," he said. "Our relationships with these works deepen and mature
as we superimpose these knowledge grids atop one another and connect them to others
we have made."
Terkla, a professor of English with emphasis on medieval literature and maps, admitted
he fell into his chosen vocation through the pages of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again. "While traversing Middle Earth, I met the medievalist I have become," he said. Searching
for the "real-word underpinning" of the book, Terkla discovered the medieval tales
the likes of Beowulf, and authors such as Chaucer. The book also led him to the study of medieval maps. He noted these artistic works were not created to be followed as a set of directions
toward a destination, but instead acted as a "mindmap," representing a human's place
in relation to heaven and earth. "Each time the reader pondered the map's vignettes,
he would weave new strands into his knowledge web and be one step farther along his
Road to the Golden Eternity," said Terkla.
This effort toward making connections in the "ages-old tradition of self-weaving,"
or finding our place in the network, can be found online through Facebook, said Terkla.
"The page owner invites friends into the network and can see them at that level, as
medieval mapmakers and authors virtually invited source-friends to their networks
and held them in pre-digital memory arrays," he said, encouraging students to "visualize
the web of knowledge" they accumulate during college.
Connections help create the essence of a liberal arts education, Terkla said. "I think
you'll see how what you learned in psych courses enriches discussions of characters
in a novel, how what you learned about light in physics allows you see a Vermeer painting
in a new way, or even a Jorie Graham poem; how reading Plato in a humanities course
raised provocative questions about the Book of Genesis; how . ... Well, I hope you
get the idea," he said.
Speeches of past teaching award recipients can be found at IWU's Digital Commons,
Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960