Each year, members of the Hobart and William Smith faculty acknowledge their colleagues who have contributed significantly to the education of students, the scholarship of the institution and the community as a whole. This spring, the recipients include Associate Professor of Political Science Cedric Johnson, who received the faculty prize for scholarship; Associate Professor of Economics Jo Beth Mertens, who was awarded the faculty prize for community service; and Associate Professor of English and American Studies Eric Patterson, who was honored with the faculty prize for teaching.
Johnson, who joined the faculty in 2001, is currently the director of the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men. Throughout his time serving as an HWS faculty member, he has continued to publish scholarly material, in addition to teaching courses and brining engaging speakers to campus for the Fisher Center’s lecture series.
“In less than a decade, Cedric has established himself as a top-rate scholar with an impressive national reputation,” remarked a fellow faculty member. “He is producing insightful, innovative and ground-breaking scholarship.”
Johnson has recently earned much academic acclaim for his 2007 manuscript, “Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics,” which examines “the rhetoric and strategies that emerged during the era of Black Power and continue to inform African American politics today.”
Johnson’s articles have been featured in numerous well-known publications including New Political Science, Monthly Review, and In These Times. In addition to his published work, Johnson has presented at many national conferences and recently co-chaired the annual meeting of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Johnson earned his B.A. in political science from Southern University – Baton Rouge, an M.A. in Black studies from the Ohio State University, as well as an M.A. and a Ph.D. in government and politics from the University of Maryland-College Park.
In her time on campus, Mertens has served the community as a member of many committees and subcommittees, as well a department chair. Her tireless efforts to better the HWS community have been noted by many fellow faculty members.
“What makes her such an asset to our community is that in addition to demanding the best of us, she works tirelessly to ensure that we can achieve it. She helps us come together as a community in celebration,” said a colleague of Mertens’ nomination. “Whatever she agrees to do receives more time, energy, intelligent commitment, and passion than most of us can summon for a single activity.”
Mertens has served as a consultant in numerous countries, including Ghana and Kosovo, as well as the U.S. Treasury Department as senior tax adviser to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has presided over similar projects in Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Russia, the Ukraine and Nigeria. Mertens has also been a consultant for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In 2005, Mertens was named New York Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
On campus, Mertens teaches courses on public finance and labor economics, as well as her popular course, “Sports Economics.” Mertens holds a B.A. from the University of Arkansas, an M.A. from Duke University and a Ph.D. from Emory University.
Throughout his many years on campus, Patterson has exemplified what it means to be a teacher through countless hours spent working alongside students, not simply teaching, but transforming.
“His impact reaches across decades at both William Smith and Hobart Colleges, not only asking what American literature means but ensuring generations think carefully and thoughtfully about the world we co-create,” explains a member of the HWS faculty. Patterson has been an activist in movements for peace and for equality for racial minorities, women, and sexual and gender minorities. “His wide-ranging engagement ensures that we all build connections – both intellectual and lived – across arenas of injustice — and asks that they require of themselves engagement with social change as he demands it of himself and, in fact, of us all.”
Patterson has been a member of the faculty since 1976. Throughout his time on campus, Patterson has taught a wide variety of courses on everything from the literature of the Gilded Age to lesbian and gay literature, as well as history courses examining the development of mass media and the history of American foreign policy.
He graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. from Amherst College, as well as an M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale. He is the author of “On Brokeback Mountain: Meditations About Masculinity, Fear And Love In The Story and Film,” as well as “Elegy for Heath Ledger,” “Brokeback Mountain: A Story, A Film, Now an Opera?” and “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.”