The University Record, January 25, 1993

Vicinus to receive Sarah Goddard Power Award Thursday

Martha J. Vicinus, the first female full professor in the Department of English, will receive the Sarah Goddard Power Award this week. Vicinus is professor of English, of history and of women’s studies.

Sponsored by the Academic Women’s Caucus, the award “honors and recognizes those individuals who have contributed to the betterment of women through distinguished leadership, scholarship or other activities related to their professional lives.”

It will be presented in public ceremonies 3:30–5 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 28) in the Hussey Room, Michigan League. Remarks will be made by Provost Gilbert R. Whitaker Jr. The award will be presented by Maureen A. Hartford, vice president for student affairs.

In nominating Vicinus for the award, Department of English Chair Robert A. Weisbuch said that she “has for more than 20 years contributed significantly to the understanding of women’s roles in Victorian society and culture. Simultaneously, as editor and judge for a growing number of journals, she has developed a singular role in both encouraging and holding to high standards of scholarship other women discovering and creating new formulations of cultural traditions. A rejection note from one of her journals carries extensive suggestions for improvement.”

Describing Vicinus as a “very distinguished scholar and a tireless activist on behalf of women,” June M. Howard said that Vicinus’ “arrival as the English Department’s first female full professor, a year or two after I arrived as a beginning assistant professor, made all the difference in the world to me. I am only one of the many faculty and graduate women, in a variety of departments, to have benefited from her help.” Howard is associate professor of English and of women’s studies and director of LS&A’s American Culture Program.

Nominator Margaret A. Lourie, associate director of the Women’s Studies Program, said that Vicinus “has had a substantial impact on the recruitment and retention of women faculty. As a member or chair of numerous search committees, she has insisted that women candidates be seriously considered, and she becomes an active, supportive mentor once they arrive on campus.”

Vicinus holds a B.A. from Northwestern University, an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.

She joined the U-M in 1982, after holding teaching posts at the University of Wisconsin and Indiana University.

Her honors include receipt of the U-M’s Distinguished Achievement Award. She has held a Guggenheim Fellowship and has been a Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at Flinders University, University of Adelaide, and a Steelcase Fellow at the Institute for the Humanities. In 1992 she directed the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar.

In addition to serving as a reader, referee or on the editorial board of many publications, she is the author or editor of eight books, including Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past, an award-winning anthology of essays.

Vicinus is a member of the Modern Language Association, American Historical Association, Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, Midwest Victorian Studies Association, Michigan Victorian Society, National Women’s Studies Association, Berkshire Women’s History Association, and Women’s Research and Resources Centre (London).