Two gifts will ‘supercharge’ faculty fellowships in the College’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities

Barbara Hyde

The Institute for the Arts and Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill has received two gifts totaling $2.6 million to support faculty scholarship, leadership and collaboration.

Barbara Hyde ’83 and John L. Townsend III ’77, MBA ’82 gave $1.3 million each to support the Faculty Fellows Program. Each gift will endow a faculty fellowship and include research funds for the faculty — a combination the IAH refers to as “supercharged” funds.

Hyde and Townsend are members of the IAH Advisory Board.

“I am grateful to these donors for their support of arts and humanities research and teaching at Carolina,” said Karen Gil, dean of the College. “The IAH is home to some of the most innovative thinking and practices that inspire and enable our faculty. The Faculty Fellows Program, in particular, has been enormously successful for supporting, developing and retaining our outstanding faculty. These fellowships allow them to complete scholarly projects and engage with faculty colleagues and peers, which enhances their teaching as well.”

John L. Townsend III
John L. Townsend III

The program offers faculty working in the arts, humanities or qualitative social sciences semester-long, on-campus fellowships to pursue major scholarly or creative works. Since its inception in 1987, the IAH has provided nearly 600 fellowships.

A key feature of the program is a weekly meeting, or “conversation,” during which fellows from different disciplines discuss their work and ideas and offer one another suggestions and criticism.

Mark Katz, director of the institute, sees the inclusion of a research fund for each fellow as a crucial next step for the program. “This will have an immediate, positive impact. Not only will fellows have time to conduct their research, they will have the resources to support that research,” said Katz of the “supercharged” funds.

Townsend’s endowed fellowship, the Marree Shore Townsend Fellowship, is named in honor of his wife and was presented to her recently on her birthday. For Hyde, who traces her involvement with the institute back to her time as a student of IAH founding director Ruel Tyson Jr., endowing a fellowship “feels like the natural evolution of my relationship with the institute.”

She hopes the Barbara Rosser Hyde Fellowship will inspire other women to make a gift to Carolina. “I’d love to see many more fellowships, scholarships and buildings with women’s names on them,” she said.