College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Longtime History Professor Receives Coveted Faculty Achievement Award

Sheila Skemp has taught history at the University of Mississippi for nearly three decades, and her longtime dedication has been recognized with this year’s top faculty research award.

Skemp, Clare Leslie Marquette Professor of American History, received the prestigious Faculty Achievement Award at the recent fall faculty meeting. Provost Morris Stocks presented her with an engraved plaque and a $2,000 check.

The award, which debuted at UM in 1985, recognizes professional scholarship, high scholarly standards and overall outstanding career performance.

“The award is a perfect acknowledgment of her dedication to her students and her research,” said Joseph Ward, chair and associate professor of history. “She is a model faculty member as both a teacher and a scholar.”

“I had no idea I was being considered for the award,” Skemp said. “I find it to be a very humbling experience. When I look at the members of my own department and at other faculty members across the campus, I see any number of people who are just as deserving of this honor. We all are dedicated teachers, productive researchers and highly involved in service activities at both the local and national – and in some cases, international – levels. If anything, it makes me want to work harder.”

Skemp holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Montana and a doctorate in history from the University of Iowa.

Skemp joined the UM faculty in 1980. Her service includes a stint as acting director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies. She has written several books, including “William Franklin: Son of a Patriot, Servant of a King” (Oxford, 1990), “Benjamin and William Franklin: Father and Son, Patriot and Loyalist” (Bedford, 1994), “Judith Sargent Murray: A Brief Biography with Documents” (Bedford, 1998) and “First Lady of Letters: Judith Sargent Murray and the Struggle for Female Rights” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009).

Skemp also co-edited Sydney V. James’ final book, “The Colonial Metamorphoses in Rhode Island: A Study of Institutions in Change,” which was released in April 2000.

Nominations for the award are solicited by the provost’s office by sending a notice to the deans of the university’s colleges and schools who then forward it to department chairs. The selection committee, which consists of members nominated by the deans and a Faculty Senate representative, chooses the recipient based on dossiers prepared for each nominee. Special consideration is given to evidence of research, such as publications, books and grants, as well as teaching and service.