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Dean of Faculty: Suzan Harrison
Assistant to the Dean: Laura Vandervoort

Eckerd College
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

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Dean of Faculty

Dean of Faculty

Russ Family Fund for International Initiatives

The Russ Family Fund for International Initiatives was established in 2007 by Frederick “Fritz” Russ ’66, Trustee Susan Russ Walker ’77, David Russ ’70 and Carolyn Russ ’76 to provide support to Eckerd faculty eager to gain international experience and expertise and to strengthen the global dimension of faculty teaching and scholarship. Tenured or tenure-track faculty are eligible to apply through the Office of the Dean of Faculty.

Joan Epstein, Professor of Music
2013 Recipient

“The Russ Family Fund enabled me to travel to Argentina and Brazil in the summer of 2013 to experience firsthand the music and dance traditions of these countries. My goal was to gather performance expertise and audio-visual material to enrich my popular general education course World Music.  I also laid the groundwork for Winter Term and Spring-into-Summer courses in Brazil designed to attract Eckerd students across majors.”

Joel Thompson, Professor of Marine Science and Geosciences
2012 Recipient

“With the help of the Russ Family Fund, I spent Spring Semester in China working to strengthen Eckerd’s ties to Xiamen University. There I taught a Geological Oceanography course to 56 Chinese undergraduate students. The experience was one I will always remember. The Chinese students were part of the International Degree Program at Xiamen University. Their ultimate goal is to get into a graduate program in an English-speaking country.

The Russ Family Fund also allowed me to develop professional ties in the geosciences at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology and Yunnan University during visits to each location. These visits included fossil research on the world famous Chengjiang Fauna at their geological museums and a field site visit to the original fossil locality in Yunnan Province. This research was incorporated into my Marine Invertebrate Paleontology course. My hope is to take Eckerd students to see these famous fossils and their original locality in the future.”

Allan Meyers, Professor of Anthropology
2012 Recipient

“The Russ Family Fund supported my travel to four Bahamian islands in the summer of 2012 to develop an interdisciplinary investigation of colonial plantation landscapes. The information gathered during the summer allowed me to solicit an archaeology permit from the Bahamian government in fall 2012. The summer travel also helped me develop a travel itinerary, budget and field research schedule for a new Winter Term Study Abroad offering for the College.

In January 2013, nine students accompanied me to Cat Island on the eastern edge of the Bahamas archipelago. They participated in a field study at a ruined plantation settlement that was established after the American Revolutionary War by colonists who were loyal to the British Crown. Against a backdrop of limestone hills and subtropical forest, the students were introduced to basic methods of archaeological survey, including the recording of architectural remains, soil sampling and artifact identification. The course considered the role of heritage management in addressing local attitudes toward the preservation of sites related to slavery. 

In June 2013, two Ford Apprentice Scholars conducted summer research projects at the Cat Island field site. They were joined by two Bahamian nationals studying at the College of the Bahamas. The Cat Island archaeology project established a mutually beneficial relationship between educational institutions in the neighboring countries. Moreover, it offered new archaeological field data for scholarly publication and heritage management planning.”

Shannon Gowans, Assistant Professor of Biology and Marine Science
2011 Recipient

“I traveled to Brazil to participate in dolphin research and conservation on the Atlantic coast and in the Amazon with the support of the Russ Family Fund for International Initiatives. As an emerging market economy, Brazil’s conservation issues are very different than those faced in developed and developing countries. I incorporated these unique viewpoints into my Mammalogy and Biological Oceanography courses, and I continue to collaborate with Brazilian colleagues in my research.” 

Alison Ormsby, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies
2010 Recipient

“The Russ Family Fund allowed me to conduct research on sacred forests in India, which strongly influenced the creation of my upper-level synthesis course for the Environmental Studies major, entitled Sacred Sites: Conservation and Management. In addition, I created a new Winter Term field-based course, offered in Spring 2012, called “Conservation and Culture in India.” I am very grateful to the Russ family for their support.”

William Felice, Professor of Political Science
2008 Recipient

“The Russ Family Fund enabled my travel to The Hague and Strasbourg, France, to establish a new Spring-into-Summer course called The Hague and International Law. This course explores international criminal law and the European approach to human rights. After studying these issues on campus during Spring Semester, my students and I then spend three weeks in The Hague and in Strasbourg meeting with experts from the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, the International Criminal Court, the International Court for the Former Yugoslavia, and the International Court of Justice. The Hague and Strasbourg course fills quickly and is now a key component of our International Relations and Global Affairs curriculum.”

What We Do

Through careful stewardship of human, financial and physical resources, the Office of the Dean of Faculty ensures the integrity and quality of the academic program at Eckerd College.