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A&S Faculty Elected Phi Beta Kappa Senators

Story by
Nancy Joseph
September 2012Perspectives Newsletter
Professors Kathleen Woodward and Zev Handel

Professors Kathleen Woodward and Zev Handel

Two faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences—Kathleen Woodward, professor of English and director of the Simpson Center for the Humanities, and Zev Handel, associate professor of Asian languages and literature—are among three UW faculty recently elected as senators of the national Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation's oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. Mary-Claire King, professor of genome sciences, is the third senator from the UW. The election of three senators from any one university is unprecedented.

The Society has a total of 24 senators representing 280 Phi Beta Kappa chapters at colleges and universities throughout the United States. The senators serve as directors of the Society who guide the national PBK office on policy matters and set the direction for the Society's future. Eight at-large seats were up for election this year from a slate of 18 nominees. The UW now holds one-eighth of the senatorial seats of the Society; only one other university holds more than one—Yale, with two seats.

Founded in 1776, the Society celebrates and advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Only about ten percent of the nation's higher education institutions have Phi Beta Kappa chapters, which invite for induction the most outstanding arts and sciences students at America's leading colleges and universities. The Society is a leading advocate for excellence in the liberal arts and sciences and has over half a million members.

The UW chapter, Alpha of Washington, was established in 1914. Faculty and staff who are members of Phi Beta Kappa and who would like more information about chapter activities may contact the chapter at