Grinnell College’s Professor Garrison Selected as 2023 CURAH Awardee

headshots. August 9, 2017. (Photo by Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College)

Dr. John Garrison, professor of English at Grinnell College in Iowa, has been selected as the 2023 Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) – Arts and Humanities Faculty Mentor Awardee.

Garrison has mentored a considerable number of undergraduate research students both in his classroom and through independent research projects. Often incorporating on-campus activities with more hands-on, course-embedded research travel, Garrison finds it deeply rewarding to encourage students’ growth through mentorship and to enhance his own understanding of the world through co-exploration of research topics. He has mentored four fellows in the Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Program, has six publications with students, and continues to look for innovative ways to involve students in research. He actively encourages his students to share their own single-authored research from their mentored experience. Many have presented their findings at conferences such as those sponsored by the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, Midwest Modern Language Association, Shakespeare Association of America, University of Chicago, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

“I was so thrilled to receive news of the award. Encouraging undergraduates to engage in humanities research has long been a passion of mine, not only because it helps them build essential skills but also because it drives a deeper understanding of literary texts and, ultimately, of themselves. Particularly important to me has been co-publishing with students, which has allowed them to advocate for new approaches to researching questions in the humanities which they feel are especially intriguing or urgent. Receiving the award this year inspires me to think even more creatively and more inclusively as I meet future students,” said John Garrison, professor of English and this year’s award winner. 

“Professor Garrison is a committed, creative, and highly successful mentor of undergraduate students who is a model for teacher-scholars and mentors. His unique approach of mentoring students to become advocates and teachers themselves showcases his commitment to research innovation in the humanities. His impactful mentorship and collaborative work with students have resulted in publications and awards. It is with great pleasure that we congratulate him on receiving the prestigious 2023 Arts and Humanities Faculty Mentor Award from CUR,” said Beronda Montgomery, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. 

Lindsay Currie, CUR’s executive officer stated, “Dr. Garrison’s commitment to mentoring undergraduates with unique approaches to research in the humanities should be celebrated. We are excited to acknowledge his contributions to the field and the work he has done to inspire the next generation.”

The CUR-Arts and Humanities Faculty Mentor Award was established in 2018 through an endowed gift by 2012 CUR Fellow Joyce Kinkead (Utah State University) to nurture undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry in arts and humanities disciplines. Garrison was honored at the June 13, 2023, CUR Award Celebration. You can watch his acceptance speech here.

Founded in 1978, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) focuses on providing high-quality and collaborative undergraduate research, scholarly, and creative activity. Among the many activities and networking opportunities that CUR provides, the organization also offers support for the professional growth of faculty and administrators through expert-designed institutes, conferences, and a wide-range of volunteer positions. The CUR community, made up of nearly 700 institutions and 13,000 individuals, continues to provide a platform for discussion and other resources related to mentoring, connecting, and creating relationships centered around undergraduate research. CUR’s advocacy efforts are also a large portion of its work as they strive to strengthen support for undergraduate research. Its continued growth in connections with representatives, private foundations, government agencies, and campuses world-wide provides value to its members and gives voice to undergraduate research. CUR is committed to inclusivity and diversity in all of its activities and our community.

CUR focuses on giving a voice to undergraduate research with learning through doing. It provides connections to a multitude of campuses and government agencies, all while promoting networking and professional growth to its community.

Grinnell College, a private liberal arts college in Iowa founded in 1846, provides individually advised learning for intellectually engaged students to produce graduates who are prepared to navigate the world’s complexities and responsibly contribute to the common good. Grinnell enrolls 1,700 students from around the world, who earn B.A. degrees in a range of disciplines across the humanities, arts and sciences. Grinnell's rigorous academic program and campus life emphasize excellence in education through free inquiry and the open exchange of ideas, a diverse community, and social responsibility and action. More information about Grinnell College is available at