Bennion and Karakatsanis Named 2021 Chancellor’s Professors
Indiana University South Bend Chancellor Susan Elrod named Drs. Elizabeth Bennion and Neovi Karakatsanis 2021 Chancellor’s Professors. Although traditionally just one Chancellor’s Professor is selected each year, two were named this year to make up for the program being on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The Chancellor’s Professor honors a full professor or librarian with highly meritorious performance in all areas of work. It recognizes a record of extensive accomplishment and leadership in teaching, research, and campus service. Bennion and Karakatsanis are professors of political science; Bennion is the director of the American Democracy Project and Karakatsanis is the director of the Honors Program.
“These scholars represent the best of our world-class faculty at IU South Bend,” said Chancellor Susan Elrod. “Their connections with students and our community, in addition to their academic expertise and campus leadership, exemplify how we serve our region with education for those who want to change their life and the lives of those around them.”
Bennion has a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and has been teaching at IU South Bend since 1999. She is the founding director of IU South Bend’s American Democracy Project, director of voter services and education for the League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area, president of the Indiana Debate Commission, and host of WNIT’s live weekly television program Politically Speaking. In these capacities she moderates political discussions, public issue forums, and candidate debates for local, state, and national candidates. A nationally recognized expert on civic education and political engagement, Bennion has won numerous local, state, and national awards for her teaching and service, and has published widely in academic books, journals and newsletters.
Bennion’s Chancellor’s Professorship project will focus on promoting democratic and civic engagement across all campus institutions, making it more likely all IU South Bend students can participate. “As a public institution of higher education, I believe we have a higher purpose to prepare all students with the skills and attitudes to engage meaningfully in the democratic process and cast their votes confidently,” Bennion said.
Karakatsanis has a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University and has been teaching at IU South Bend since 1998. Her excellence in teaching is evident in the number of teaching awards she has received, including the Indiana University’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. Through her leadership as the director of the Honors Program, it has grown from 30 students in 2013 to almost 300 students today. She also instituted a service requirement of 10 hours a semester to maintain good standing in the program. As a result, numerous organizations in the community have benefited from honors students’ service projects.
Her Chancellor’s Professorship project will focus on continuing to increase the stature, size, and visibility of our Honors program as well as student participation in other high-impact practices, such as community engagement, internships, undergraduate research/creative activity, and study abroad. Her project is aligned with goals in the campus’s emerging five-year strategic plan. “Enabling more of our students to participate in Honors and other high-impact practices will allow students to connect their learning in the classroom to the real world and be more successful in their degree programs.”
Both Bennion and Karakatsanis were deeply honored to be named 2021 Chancellor’s Professors. “As a Chancellor’s Professor, I’ll have the opportunity to work on a project that is dear to my heart,” said Karakatsanis. Likewise Bennion said, “I’m excited to expand my network, and I look forward to working with more people as we engage students and the community in these civic engagement experiences.”
The Chancellor’s Professorship comes with an increase in compensation and an assignment made in consultation with the chancellor that will advance the mission of the campus. The title remains in perpetuity.