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SIUE IRIS Center names Temko, Hall as inaugural Faculty Fellows

The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Interdisciplinary Research and Informatics Scholarship (IRIS) Center has announced Ezra Temko, Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Sociology, and Candace Hall, Ed.D., assistant professor in the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior’s Department of Educational Leadership, as its inaugural Faculty Fellows.

Temko and Hall were selected as their scholarship crosses discipline boundaries, with topics and goals that have real-world connections and impacts.

“The field of digital humanities comprises a wide variety of methods that use technology to further our understanding of fields like history, literature, linguistics, geography, and more,” said Kristine Hildebrandt, Ph.D., professor in the Department of English Language and Literature and co-director of the IRIS Center. “Our fellowship program perfectly fits the IRIS Center’s mission to facilitate cross-disciplinary and collaborative projects that involve innovative uses of technology in the humanities and social sciences, and to promote digital endeavors that intersect with community initiatives and organizations.”

“I want to continue to move my research in a public-facing direction, which entails engaging in online scholarship,” explained Temko. “The IRIS Fellowship will allow me to engage in digital scholarship with intention and direction which will help me throughout my career. I am confident my engagement with the IRIS Center this year will build my knowledge and skills in digital scholarship and make me a better public sociologist.”

Temko will be creating an Iowa Gender Balance History Interactive e-Timeline in collaboration with the Iowa State University Catt Center for Women and Politics. Iowa is the only state in the country with a law that outright requires gender balance on all state boards and commissions, extending the law to local boards and commissions in 2009.

“My dissertation research focused on this case study, and, in 2018, I interviewed 64 Iowans about gender balance and spent time in the Iowa Women’s Archives at University of Iowa,” Temko noted. “I uncovered a lot of fascinating history and stories not currently available in any published source. I am excited to put together this data to share a rich, multi-layered, digitally-accessible story about the arc of gender balance in Iowa, ranging from local stories to how it fits into and connects with national and global women’s rights efforts.”

The fellowship will extend Hall’s scholarship on Black faculty and positive experiences in the academy. Her work has implications for improving campus climate, recruiting, retaining, and supporting Black faculty.

“This fellowship will help me disseminate this research in a way that allows institutions of higher education, particularly institutional leaders, to see what is possible,” Hall said “It is important that this work lives beyond words in a journal article that university leadership may choose to read. I want this work to be lasting, to document this community we have built as a model of what is possible for us in the academy.”

Hall anticipates her conclusions will also inform improvements in the retention and graduation rate of Black students at SIUE.

For more information on the SIUE IRIS Center, visit

Interdisciplinary Research and Informatics Scholarship (IRIS) Center’s Faculty Fellows, from left, Candace Hall, Ed.D., and Ezra Temko, Ph.D., shown. (Submitted photo)

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