BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan University’s Rebecca Gearhart Mafazy has received
the Exemplary Teacher Award for the 2016-2017 academic year. The award is given through
the Division of Higher Education of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry
of The United Methodist Church. Illinois Wesleyan Provost and Dean of the Faculty
Jonathan Green presented Gearhart Mafazy with the award.
Recipients of the Exemplary Teaching Award exemplify excellence in teaching; civility
and concern for students and colleagues; commitment to values-centered education;
and service to students, the institution, and the community.
Gearhart Mafazy is a professor of anthropology at Illinois Wesleyan. She was also named the 2017 recipient of the Kemp Foundation
Award for Teaching Excellence. This Illinois Wesleyan award honors one faculty member
who brings spirit, passion, and scholarship to the art of teaching.
She received a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Florida and joined the
faculty at Illinois Wesleyan in 1999. Gearhart Mafazy takes an interdisciplinary approach
(visual anthropology, history and performance studies) to her research on non-Western
music and dance performance traditions. Her area of interest is East Africa, which
she first visited as an undergraduate student in 1987. She has frequently lived in
East Africa, primarily among the Swahili people of the Kenyan coast. She is co-editor
of the book Contesting Identities: The Mijikenda and Their Neighbors in Kenyan Coastal Society (Africa World Press, 2013) and the author of numerous scholarly papers.