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Getz named Greer Distinguished Professor in History

Lynn_Getz_t.jpgBOONE—History professor Dr. Lynne Getz calls herself a memory keeper when she describes her work documenting the history of women pioneers who lived in the Four Corners area of Colorado and New Mexico during the 19th and 20th centuries.

She has traveled a path from New York, Ohio and Kansas to the West and back again following threads of information gained from interviews, archives and historical societies to learn about her ancestors who included anti-slavery and women’s rights activists from Ohio, a woman physician and instructor in New York in the 19th century, Colorado fish farmers turned dude ranch operators in Colorado and amateur historians.

In the process she has realized how, “my own identity has been shaped and influenced by the history of this extended family that has been my focus,” she said.

Getz is the I.G. Greer Distinguished Professor in History for 2011-13 at Appalachian State University. The honor recognizes a professor’s scholarly activities, teaching and service.  Seventeen faculty members from the Department of History have received the honor since it was first awarded in 1977.

“It is rare for donors and departments to dedicate recognition and resources to the ongoing professional needs of full professors. Yet, many academics spend more of their working years as full professors than at any other rank,” said department chair Dr. Lucinda McCray. “Recognition of their service and performance can come in many ways, but the recognition of one’s peers is especially important.”

Recipients of the award are chosen by professors in the department. The award includes a semester-long leave to conduct research or scholarly activity and funds to support that research.

Getz came to Appalachian in 1990. She has taught 33 different courses during her tenure ranging from general education to graduate-level courses. Getz has served as director of the public history program, director of undergraduate advising, and is the current chair of the department’s assessment committee.

She currently is working on two book projects “that began by one of those windfalls that historians like to fanaticize about – the discovery of a trunk of letters in the attic,” she said.

The “treasure trove” contained letters related to the 19th- and 20th-century experience of women in the Wattles-Faunce-Wetherill family, who migrated to the Four Corners area of the United States from the East, and who are the focus of two books Getz is writing. She recently received a Foundation Faculty Fellows grant from the university to support the project.

Getz’s publications include the book “Schools of their own: The education of Hispanos in New Mexico, 1850-1940” and articles on Western history, the history of education, the history of institutional psychiatry, women’s history, and the links between science and public policy.

Getz has a Bachelor of Arts in history and Spanish from Adams State College, a Master of Arts in history from Texas Christian University and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Washington in Seattle.