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The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University Selects the 2023-24 Cohort of Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Fellows


Georgetown University has chosen the four individuals for the 2023-24 cohort of Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Fellows in the School of Foreign Service (SFS) and departments of government, classics and history.

The Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Fellows aims to attract professors on the tenure track from a diverse range of backgrounds and ensure the success of their research with a term-limited honorific title and a year off from teaching and service responsibilities. This year’s cohort includes Melinda González, currently in the SFS; Crystal Luo, who will join the history department; Lingxin Zhang, who will join the classics department; and Amanda Sahar d’Urso, who will join the government department. 

Luo said that the Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Fellows program was a unique opportunity to start her career as a professor.

“Really an ideal situation for someone who’s transitioning from graduate school to being a professor in academia, to have a year off from teaching and be able to just get your feet wet, figure out the new institution, do research and transition from dissertations to writing a book,” Luo told the Hoya. “So it’s really one of those unicorn jobs, and I feel extremely fortunate to have landed it and be in the pipeline now.”

Provost Robert M. Groves said in the university’s announcement that this year’s Provost fellows will be great assets to the Georgetown community.

“We are delighted to welcome these four exceptional scholars as Provost Distinguished Faculty Fellows,” Provost Robert M. Groves said. “Their research, academic excellence and commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion will be great assets to the Georgetown community.”

Georgetown University announced the Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Fellows program in 2020, but the first cohort was in 2022. This program has built on years of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives across the university by honoring a wide range of faculty members. 

Luo said that the work of students, especially Asian American students, ensured the establishment of the program. 

“I feel very grateful to the students, especially the Asian American students, who in the years leading up to this job’s creation advocated very hard for the expansion of ethnic studies and of Asian American studies at the university,” Luo said. “I really hope those students continue to do that work.”

Luo added she is grateful for the current Georgetown faculty’s work on racial studies that contribute to her field.

 “I also feel very grateful to the faculty who have been doing studies and worked on the study of race at Georgetown before my arrival,” Luo said. “I feel like that’s a really important foundation and without them, this program probably wouldn’t exist. I feel responsible for helping carry that work forward here.”

The provost’s office selects candidates based on a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, demonstrated through their research, teaching or service.

D’Urso has dedicated her research to looking at Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) identities in the United States. D’Urso said that she felt particularly devoted to this area because of her family’s Iranian heritage.

“I was very much coming of age during 9/11 and that was a very impactful period of time in terms of how I understood my own racial ethnic identity. 9/11 was the last time I was able to forget that I wasn’t just white,” d’Urso told the Hoya. “And so when I went to grad school, I was just curious to see what the research was on this group that I’m a part of, and I realized there’s really not a ton of work, at least in political science, there.”

D’Urso added that she hopes to make a difference for the MENA community with the research she will do as a Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Fellow.

“It means the world to me to be selected because I feel conflicted about the privileges we have relative to other racial minority groups, but also the racialization and discrimination that we face,” d’Urso said. “A lot of different institutions don’t really consider MENA to be a part of or a priority in their DEI mission because they’re focused on other categories.”

Zhang said she is thrilled to join Georgetown’s classics department.

“My department (Classics) is committed to building a vibrant intellectual community for students studying classical civilizations at all levels. I am deeply impressed by what my colleagues have achieved and would love to contribute to that mission in my own ways,” Zhang wrote to The Hoya. 

“I plan to spend this year revising my book manuscript and creating new curricula that would expand Classics’ current course offerings. My colleagues and I have discussed possible offerings such as Introduction to Ancient Egypt, ancient magic and science, gender and identities,” Zhang added. 

All of this year’s Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Fellows expressed their enthusiasm to join Georgetown’s community.

“I want to ideally be like an old lady who’s been at Georgetown forever. That’s my dream — just to be like the old lady who everyone’s like, ‘Oh her, she’s been here forever,’” d’Urso said. “So I do feel like Georgetown is setting me up for success and I just have to put in the hard work so that I can hopefully stay forever.”

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