Susan Ashmore and Kenneth Carter were named as Charles Howard Candler Professors.

Two named to Candler professorships

Two Oxford faculty members have joined the ranks of Emory University faculty with named professorships.

At its recent fall meeting, the Emory University Board of Trustees appointed Susan Ashmore as Charles Howard Candler Professor of History and Kenneth Carter as Charles Howard Candler Professor of Psychology. Ashmore and Carter were nominated by Dean of Oxford College Doug Hicks and presented to the Board by Provost Dwight McBride.

The Charles Howard Candler Professorship honors senior scholars who have shown outstanding teaching ability and productive scholarship in one or more fields of learning, and who have further distinguished themselves through long and substantial service to the university and in furthering the cause of higher education. 

Says Hicks, “I am pleased to see such well-deserved recognition come to Professors Ashmore and Carter, and I am also pleased that their appointments bring honor by extension to Oxford College. Susan and Ken are master teachers who have successfully balanced their commitment to students and the classroom with scholarly research and service to Oxford College and Emory University.”

Oxford faculty members also with named professorships include David Gowler, the Dr. Lovick Pierce and Bishop George F. Pierce Professor of Religion; and Hicks, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Religion. Lucas Carpenter, Charles Howard Candler Professor of English Emeritus, retired in 2015.

Southern Historian

Ashmore joined the Oxford College faculty in 2000. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received an MA in history from the University of Virginia and a PhD in history from Auburn University. An American historian with special focus on the civil rights movement, Ashmore teaches the history of the United States as well as the history of the American civil rights movement, the United States in the 1960s, and methods of oral history. 

She is the author of Carry It On: The War on Poverty and the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, 1964-1972, (University of Georgia Press, 2008) which examines how the federal anti-poverty programs sponsored by President Johnson's War on Poverty helped implement the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act in the Black Belt of Alabama. The book received the Francis Butler Simkins Award from the Southern Historical Association for the best first book in a two-year period, and the Willie Lee Rose Publication Prize from the Southern Association of Women Historians for the best work in southern history authored by a woman. 

She is the co-editor of and contributor to Alabama Women: Their Lives and Times (University of Georgia Press, 2017) and author of numerous journal articles and chapters in anthologies. Her current research focuses on Wyatt v. Stickney, a landmark Alabama legal case whose 1971 ruling helped to establish the civil rights of mental patients and was instrumental in ending the warehousing of the mentally ill.

Ashmore is the recipient of Oxford’s Mizell Teaching Award and the Fleming Award for Teaching and Service. In 2017 she was selected to receive the Emory Williams Teaching Award, Emory University’s highest honor for teaching. Her university service includes serving as Oxford’s liaison to the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, faculty counselor to the Emory University Board of Trustees, and co-facilitator of the Transforming Community Project’s Faculty Pedagogy Seminar.

Of the appointment to the Candler professorship, Ashmore says, “When I got the news I was a bit overwhelmed, because it came out of the blue. It is such a great honor to be given this appointment. Not only is it an affirmation professionally as a scholar/teacher, it will also enable me to further my historical research on the Wyatt v. Stickney case. I am grateful to Dean Hicks and Dean Anderson for their encouragement and generosity.”

Translator of Psychology Research

Ken Carter is a graduate of Oxford College and Emory University and received an MA and PhD in psychology from the University of Michigan. After completion of his doctoral work, he also earned an MS in psychopharmacology from Fairleigh Dickinson University and gained board certification as a clinical psychologist.

Before joining the Oxford College faculty in 1999, Carter served as a senior assistant research scientist in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s prestigious Epidemic Intelligence Service, where he researched smoking as a risk marker for suicidal behaviors in adolescents.

Carter teaches introductory courses in psychology as well as advanced courses in clinical psychopharmacology, research methods, and personality. In addition to teaching, he has served as president of the Emory University Senate, chair of the Faculty Council, and member of the Presidential Advisory Committee.

He has published extensively in both academic and lay publications, actively engaging in the translation of research in psychology into everyday language. His articles have been published in magazines such as mental floss and Readers Digest, and he has appeared on news programs such as Connect With Kids and NBC’s Today show. 

Carter is the co-author of Learn Psychology (Jones and Bartlett), a textbook now in its second edition, and he is currently at work on a textbook on abnormal psychology for Cambridge University Press. He recently completed the production of a course on the psychology of thrill-seeking, which will be offered by Emory University and Coursera as a MOOC (massive online open course) beginning in January 2018.

The psychology of thrill-seeking is the current focus of Carter’s research. After becoming interested in the subject a few years ago, he developed a survey to assess personal levels of sensation- or thrill-seeking and has used his professional website to gather stories and data about it. He has delivered a TedX talk on sensation-seeking and is currently under contract for a book on the subject from Cambridge University Press. Canadian museum Science North will open an exhibit on sensation-seeking in spring 2018 that was informed by Carter’s work.

“Oxford was my first choice for college,” says Carter. “I was an early-decision applicant, and I was so happy when I got my admission letter. I kept it—and still have it. That letter was the first in a file where I also have the letter granting my tenure. When I received the letter announcing my promotion to full professor, I thought my file was complete. The letter of my appointment to the Candler professorship is an unexpected addition, and it is a great honor.”