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Elisabeth Andrews
Office of the Provost

Last modified: Friday, August 30, 2013

English professor appointed to direct Indiana University's Wells Scholars Program

Aug. 30, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Christoph Irmscher, Provost Professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been named director of Indiana University Bloomington's Wells Scholars Program, which provides scholarships and academic opportunities for some of the campus's most promising students.

Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel announced the appointment today. It takes effect this semester.

Christoph Irmscher

Christoph Irmscher

Print-Quality Photo

"Christoph presented a compelling vision for the Wells Scholars Program that honors its distinguished history," Robel said. "His plans to enhance mentoring and opportunities for deep research will further strengthen this exceptional program. Under Christoph's leadership, I am confident that our Wells Scholars will continue to reach outstanding levels of academic excellence."

Irmscher, an Indiana University professor since 2006, teaches and writes about 19th- and 20th-century American and Canadian literature and has a longstanding interest in the field of eco-criticism, specifically American nature writing. He succeeds Tim Londergan, a professor of physics, who has directed the Wells Scholars Program for the past 10 years.

"This appointment is a tremendous honor -- a gift, really," Irmscher said. "I love teaching and mentoring, and the Wells directorship will allow me to work with some of the best students in the nation in a way that I hope will benefit them as well as the entire campus community."

Irmscher's recent biography, "Louis Agassiz: Creator of American Science," was selected as Editor's Choice by The New York Times Book Review and has also been praised by Nature, the Christian Science Monitor and other publications. He is also the author of "Public Poet, Private Man: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow at 200"; "Longfellow Redux"; and "The Poetics of Natural History." He is the editor of the Library of America edition of "John James Audubon's Writings and Drawings" as well as the co-editor, with art historian Alan Braddock, of "A Keener Perception: Ecocritical Studies in American Art History."

His undergraduate courses are highly rated by students, and graduate students describe him as an outstanding mentor. He has doctoral and postdoctoral degrees from the University of Bonn.

Established in 1988, the Wells Scholars Program honors longtime IU President and Chancellor Herman B Wells. Each year the program brings to the campus about 20 entering freshmen who show exceptional intellect and leadership, providing them with four-year scholarships covering all costs of attendance. Wells Scholars have gone on to win more than 70 national and international scholarships, fellowships and grants, such as the Rhodes, Truman, Marshall, Soros, Mitchell, Churchill, Gates Cambridge, Hertz, Luce, Beinecke, Fulbright and Goldwater awards.

The program also offers special seminars; support for a summer research or service project, creative activity or internship; and a wide range of extracurricular events and activities. It emphasizes close interaction with faculty, academic and career advising, opportunities for public service and contact with distinguished visitors.