Johnson professorship goes to WSU Vancouver prof
The award came as a flattering surprise to Mercier, who will hold the position as long as she is employed at WSU. "The award is to honor and encourage research. Instead of teaching summer school, it allows more time to get away and do research. During the school year we're just so busy."
Mercier's current research project is aimed at comparing how workers in industrial communities in Canada, the western U.S. and Australia relate to the places they live.
"I'm especially interested in male-dominated, industrial communities like mining, logging, fishing and long shoring. Women have historically been excluded from those occupations, so I'm interested in how men and women negotiate gender boundaries," said Mercier.
She plans to take her first trip as Johnson Professor to the University of British Columbia's library archives to spend an intense week gathering information as the foundation for writing a book, a task that can take six to 10 years.
Mercier credits her love of teaching to being awarded the Johnson Professorship. "At WSU Vancouver we have such an interesting mix of students who represent a variety of backgrounds and ages. I find that our students are really open minded and welcome new ideas, information and ways of looking at the world. Because we're such a small school, I've especially enjoyed working with undergraduate and graduate students on special projects that offer unique opportunities."
Various university-related and personal projects have Mercier regularly extending herself beyond the traditional university classroom. Whether it is through leading workshops on teaching American history for secondary school teachers, engaging in a project to digitize the NAACP records at the Clark County Historical Museum, or by co-hosting a public affairs radio show on Portland’s KBOO 90.7, Mercier selflessly shares her passion and talents with the community.
Claudius O. Johnson was born in 1894, served the United States Army in World War I, and joined the faculty of WSU Pullman in 1928 as Chair of the Department of History and Political Science. With a career spanning four decades, he was considered by many students to be the most influential role model of their college experience. Mary W. Johnson joined the faculty in 1923 as a physical education instructor and served as a civic leader in the Pullman community until her death in 1992. Through gifts from their estates, the Johnsons created distinguished professorships in both history and political science that provide income to the appointee for purposes related to instructional scholarly activity.