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Madigan, Plata, and McGregor Honored During Commencement Weekend


Madigan, Plata, and McGregor Honored During Commencement Weekend

Three faculty were honored with prestigious awards from the College during Commencement Weekend.

During the Commencement ceremony, Dr. Timothy Madigan, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Irish Studies Program, received the Trustees' Award for Distinguished Scholarly Achievement. This award is the highest honor that the Board of Trustees can bestow on a faculty member, second only to an honorary degree. It is given to no more than one full-time faculty member each year in recognition of outstanding scholarly work, ranging from writing books and articles, to presenting papers at professional conferences.

From the time of his arrival at Fisher in 2004, he has been a prolific scholar with an impressive record of publications, publishing over 16 refereed articles and book chapters. He has also edited or co-authored six books. In addition, he has given over a dozen invited academic talks across North America and Europe.

Madigan’s most recent book, published in 2010, is entitled Ethics and Evidentialism: W.K. Clifford and ‘The Ethics of Belief.’ The book resulted in an invitation from Benedicte Coste, editor of a prestigious French journal, to deliver the keynote address at a conference entitled, “Believing in the Nineteenth Century” at the University in Montpellier, France, in 2011.

That same year, Madigan was commissioned by the Soren Kierkegaard Foundation to write an article on “Paul Edwards: A Rationalist Critic of Kierkegaard’s Theory of Truth,” for the prestigious peer-reviewed series Kierkegaard’s Influence on Philosophy.

Madigan is also a frequent lecturer in the field of philosophy, organizing a scholarly conference at Fisher on the works of the ancient Roman philosopher, Lucretius. He was also the driving force behind the creation of the Irish Studies Program at the College.

At the President’s Awards Ceremony on Friday, May 10, Dr. Francisco Plata, Assistant Professor of Spanish, was the recipient of the Award for Teaching Excellence. The award is given annually to a full-time faculty member for outstanding work in the classroom. Award recipients must demonstrate thorough knowledge of their subject matter, solid preparation for class, clear and effective communication, and genuine enthusiasm for their job.

Plata was nominated by students, and applauded for his teaching style and for bringing his personal experiences and global knowledge to the classroom. The students also noted his genuine interest in his students. One student said, “He asked one of my classes our plans for the future and I told him I was thinking about going to grad school to become a librarian. He went out of his way to contact a Fisher librarian for me to email so I could go in and shadow her to learn more about the career. This gesture really showed how he cares about his students and wants to help them, even if it has nothing to do with Spanish.”

Plata’s teaching and research interests involve 19th and 20th century Spanish literature, Spain history and culture, transatlantic studies, Spanish language pedagogy, and creative writing. His publications include articles, reviews, and forewords on both Spanish and Latin American subjects. He has also published several works of poetry and fiction.

Also at the President’s Awards Ceremony, Dr. David McGregor, an adjunct professor in the History Department, received the Part-time Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence. This award honors an individual who demonstrates outstanding teaching ability and who works in a part-time capacity at Fisher.

He was nominated by students for the “excellent rapport” he has with them. In addition, students nominated him for how he balances humor with education, and for the way he challenges his students, questioning them on their projects, results, and other findings all in an effort to spur more class discussion and sharpen the student’s knowledge.

One nomination read, “Without Dr. MacGregor’s guidance, I would not have such an expansive understanding of each country’s global politics. I am nominating him for this award for his passionate dedication to creating an academic atmosphere that fosters growth.”

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