Fischer Fellowship

Burnell and Barbara Fischer to Endow New Fellowship Program for SPEA Junior Faculty

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs has received a gift from Burnell and Barbara Fischer to endow the Fischer Faculty Fellowship program. This gift will provide crucial research support to tenure-track junior faculty at SPEA during the early stages of their career.

"We are deeply grateful to the Fischers for this generous and thoughtfully targeted gift. It will make a significant difference in the careers of our junior faculty colleagues," said SPEA Dean John D. Graham. "Their research, in turn, will serve the greater good for years to come."

The goal of the Fischer Faculty Fellows Program is to enable SPEA researchers to build momentum early in their academic careers by offering them resources to pursue their research agendas and publishing opportunities. Fellows will receive financial support to be able to travel to conferences, meet with research partners, recruit postdoctoral research assistants, and create laboratories and workshops. The award is worth $20,000 per year for three years, and SPEA will match the award by offering each fellow an annual one-course teaching release.

"Being a part of the SPEA community has been deeply rewarding, not just professionally but also personally for Barb and me," said Fischer. "The research that's done at SPEA is important, but it's really the people who make the place thrive. We're excited to be able to invest in young faculty, because we know the future of SPEA is in their hands."

Burnell "Burney" C. Fischer is a clinical professor emeritus specializing in urban and community forestry. He is also a senior research fellow and former director of the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis. He joined Indiana University in 2005 after 15 years with the Indiana Division of Forestry where he served as the state forester and director. He has received many awards for his work on tree planting, conservation, and stewardship, including the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award from the Indiana Urban Forest Council and the Frederick Law Olmsted Award from the National Arbor Day Foundation. Fischer has also been instrumental in the growth of the Tree Campus USA program, which provides recognition for colleges and universities that make tree care a priority.

"Burney's life's work reflects his mindful stewardship of the world around him. The students and faculty he’s mentored, the trees he's planted, and this new investment in his junior colleagues at SPEA are all a part of that legacy," said SPEA's Executive Associate Dean Michael McGuire. "We're grateful to Barb and to Burney for all they’ve given our community over the years."

The Fischer Faculty Fellows program will be open to tenure-track junior faculty members from any discipline who have been at SPEA for at least three years. Fellows should enter the program with a strong research agenda and demonstrated trajectory in their respective field.

The first Fischer Fellow will be named for fall 2019.

This gift counts toward the $3 billion For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign.