John E. Weaver & Aaron Douglas Professorships


Stipend: $5,000

Discipline: Open

Eligibility: Full Professor

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John E. Weaver and Aaron Douglas Professorships for Teaching Excellence were established in 2008 by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to recognize faculty members with the rank of full professor who demonstrate sustained and extraordinary levels of teaching excellence and national visibility for instructional activities and/or practice. Individuals awarded the professorship may elect either the Douglas or Weaver designation. They are known as Weaver or Douglas professors and professor of (field). The professorships, which carry a $5,000 stipend, are awarded for five-year terms and appointments may be renewed following review in the fifth year.

John E. Weaver
John E. Weaver

The Weaver Professorship honors John E. Weaver (1884-1956). Weaver was a leading expert on grasses, both as natural populations and as crops. During his career as a faculty member at NU, Weaver published many works regarding vegetation and ecology of prairies and published the first American ecology textbook. His reputation as a world-renowned plant ecologist attracted students from Nebraska and beyond to study range management in agronomy. An Iowa native, Weaver earned his B.S. and master's degrees from the University of Nebraska, and his doctorate from the University of Minnesota. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1915 and, became a full professor in 1917; he retired in 1952.

The Aaron Douglas Professorship honors NU alumnus Douglas (1899-1979), who was the first African American to earn a degree in art from NU and is considered a pre-eminent artist of the Harlem Renaissance movement. A native of Topeka, Kan., Douglas earned a B.F.A. from the university in 1922. He founded the Department of Art at Fisk University, where he taught from 1937-1966. Douglas's art captured the zeitgeist of his era, helping to establish a new black aesthetic. He combined traditional African and African American images with the prevailing Cubist and Art Deco stylings, creating a distinctive and imaginative visual form. His work is considered seminal to the Harlem Renaissance and remains enduring and important. Douglas also earned a master's degree (1944) from Teachers College at Columbia College in New York. He received an honorary doctoral degree from Fisk. The Sheldon Museum of Art acquired four Douglas works, a set of woodcuts on paper titled Emperor Jones. Created in 1926, they are early examples of Douglas's oeuvre. The Sheldon also owns Window Cleaning, a 1935 oil painting of an African American man.

Aaron Douglas
Aaron Douglas

Past Recipients

Year Recipient Professorship Department
2016 Martha Mamo John E. Weaver Professorship Agronomy & Horticulture
2015 Robert Brooke John E. Weaver Professorship English
2014 Laura White John E. Weaver Professorship English
2012 Judy Walker Aaron Douglas Professorship Mathematics
2010 Stephen Buhler Aaron Douglas Professorship English
2010 Calvin Garbin John E. Weaver Professorship Psychology
2009 William Lewis Aaron Douglas Professorship Mathematics
2009 Helen A Moore Aaron Douglas Professorship Sociology