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The Dimmitt Fellowship

Last updated August 04, 2017

Visiting Scholars Enrich Campus Life at Morningside College

The Dimmitt Fellowship program brings distinguished scholars from around the world to Morningside College to enrich the cultural and academic life on campus. Named for the late Lillian Dimmitt, who came from bustling, urban northeast Illinois to rural northwest Iowa, Ms. Dimmitt taught Latin at Morningside from 1893 until 1916, when she was named Dean of Women. When Ms. Dimmitt arrived, there was only one building on the College’s campus, and it was still unfinished, with no gas, plumbing, or electricity. Ms. Dimmitt's commitment to Morningside's students helped her persist through these conditions, however, and when she eventually purchased her own home, she rented out rooms, providing comfortable living quarters to more than 100 students. During her tenure at Morningside, Ms. Dimmitt sponsored campus organizations, conducted study tours of Europe, and published articles on classical languages and college administration. When she retired in 1940, she had interacted with every Morningside student who had ever enrolled, either as a professor or administrator. Her devotion to the students and her commitment to academic excellence and life-long learning inspired the College to name Dimmitt Hall, which was constructed in 1926, after her. When the dormitory was renovated in 2015, Morningside constructed an apartment to house Dimmitt Fellows during their residencies. This central location allows visiting scholars to fully immerse themselves in the campus’ rich academic and extra-curricular life. In addition to strengthening the academic culture on campus, Dimmitt Fellows also help to bolster the College’s ties to the community through selected engagements that are free and open to the public.

2018 Dimmitt Fellow

Born in India and raised in the United States, Mohana Rajakumar holds a B.A. in English and Psychology from Peace College in North Carolina, an M.A. in English from North Carolina State University, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida and has spent the past decade living, teaching, and conducting research about gender, writing, and race in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar. Her relocation to the Arabian peninsula in 2005 was fortuitous in many ways, since this is where she became a writer. Having previously taught fiction and writing at Northwestern University in Qatar, she currently writes full-time and has published eight e-books, including a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies; a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories; and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace. Her coming of age novel, An Unlikely Goddess, won the SheWrites New Novelist competition in 2011. Her recent books have focused on various aspects of life in Qatar. From Dunes to Dior, named as a Best Indie book in 2013, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. Though banned for sale by the Qatari government, her novel Love Comes Later was the winner of the Best Indie Book Award for Romance in 2013 and is a literary romance set in Qatar and London. Rajakumar has also published many papers in peer-reviewed publications and lectured at institutions of higher learning around the globe. A former associate editor for Vox, a fashion and lifestyle magazine, and host of the Cover to Cover book show on Qatar Foundation Radio, Rajakumar is a lively presence on social media and looks forward to interacting with the students, faculty, and staff here at Morningside College in the coming months.

Rajakumar will arrive on March 10, 2018 and stay through March 24th. She will reside in the newly renovated apartment in Dimmitt Hall, where she will have additional opportunities to interact with students. During her stay, Rajakumar will address creative and critical writing, literature, mass communication, sociology, Spanish, education, religion, political science, and business classes. Significant aspects of her visit will include: a campus Common Read event focused on her 2011 collection of short stories, Coloured and Other Stories; a public speaking engagement in UPS Auditorium tentatively titled "Living in an Interconnected World: Why Global Perspectives Matter;" and a variety of community events at the Betty Strong Encounter Center, the Sioux City Public Library, the Mary Treglia Community House, and the Northwest Area Education Agency. If you are interested in learning more about Rajakumar’s visit, please contact Dr. Christina Triezenberg, Assistant Professor of English, via .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Nomination Process

Prospective Dimmitt Fellows must be nominated by a sponsoring department, division, or faculty member. The Faculty Senate will consider candidates one year in advance, and deadlines for nominations are September 15 and January 15 of each academic year. Letters of nomination should be submitted to the President of the Faculty Senate. The Senate will then prioritize the nominations in cooperation with the Provost, and the Provost will negotiate compensation and other details with nominees on a case by case basis. Preference will be given to nominations of interdisciplinary interest and longer term residencies (brief stays of one or two nights will not be considered). Once a Dimmitt Fellow has been approved and scheduled, the sponsoring faculty member will work closely with the Grants Office to develop a timeline of possible events, both on campus and in the community, in partnership with local organizations.

Letters of information should include the following information:

♦   Name, contact information, and credentials of the nominee
♦   Description of preliminary contacts made by the department, division, or faculty member, and an indication of the nominee’s level of interest
♦   Proposed length of visit, including timeline considerations and amount of flexibility
♦   Roles the nominee might play on campus
♦   Approximate budget for activities surrounding the nominee's residency, and a preliminary estimate of compensation expected
♦   Indication of how the department, division, or faculty member intends to help integrate the nominee into the life of the college

If you would like to learn more about this fellowship, please contact Vivian Isaacson in the Provost’s Office via .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).