2012-2013 Harry E. Brakebill Distinguished Professor Award

Date:       October 24, 2012

To:          Campus Community

From:       President Karen S. Haynes

Subject:   2012-2013 Harry E. Brakebill Distinguished Professor Award


Upon the recommendation of the Faculty Awards Selection Committee (FASC), I am pleased to announce that Dr. Martha Stoddard Holmes, professor of Literature and Writing Studies in the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences, is the recipient of the 2012/2013 Harry E. Brakebill Distinguished Professor Award. Dr. Stoddard Holmes’s exemplary efforts to impart University values through student centered teaching, combined with her record of cross disciplinary scholarship on disability in literary studies, and her willingness to step into leadership roles to serve the campus community make her richly deserving of this highest faculty honor.

Dr. Stoddard Holmes received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Colorado in 1996 and, after serving as a visiting professor of English at Plymouth State College, she joined Cal State San Marcos as an assistant professor of Literature and Writing Studies in 2000, achieving the highest rank of professor in 2010. For more than a decade, Dr. Stoddard Holmes has been making an extraordinary impact on her students and colleagues, and on our campus.

Students regularly recount life-changing moments that occur because of Dr. Stoddard Holmes, ranging from being encouraged to make formal presentations at professional conferences to divining theses topics from classroom discussions. Her effect on faculty is no less profound, with several admiring her ability to teach across majors and departments, and her innate knack for sensing when a student needs help. And just as her colleagues believe in her, Dr. Stoddard Holmes goes out of her way to help her fellow and future professors. As an active participant in the Cal State San Marcos faculty mentoring program, she has mentored several undergraduate protégés and supervised three Sally Casanova pre-doctoral scholarship winners at the graduate level.

An accomplished author, Dr. Stoddard Holmes’ groundbreaking book, Fictions of Affliction, published by the University of Michigan Press in 2004 and reissued in paperback in 2009, makes a significant contribution to two distinct fields: Victorian literary studies and disability studies. It represents the first cultural studies analysis of portrayals of disability in Victorian Britain. It also makes a very important contribution to the emerging field of Disability Studies in the Humanities.

Among her many contributions to the University, Dr. Stoddard Holmes took on the arduous role of a lead writer for CSUSM's most recent WASC report, and in her most recent leadership contribution to her college, she accepted an elected position as chair of the department of Literature and Writing Studies, leading her department through the challenges of shrinking budgets and student enrollment targets. In addition, she is extremely committed to first-year retention as evidenced by her enthusiastic efforts on the CAL-PASS English task force, a collaborative project among California high schools, community colleges, and universities.

Dr. Martha Stoddard Holmes clearly exemplifies the highest values of Cal State San Marcos and embodies what it means to be a faculty member committed to sustained excellence in teaching, research, and community partnership that enhances student learning.