Neikirk Term Chair



About the Neikirk Chair
Mr. Waldo W. Neikirk, who died April 2010, generously endowed funds for a new term chair. A Harvard educated financier, Mr. Neikirk was keenly interested in promoting distinguished teaching of undergraduates. He strongly advocated the importance of a broad liberal arts education and believed that the most effective means to that end was to reward “outstanding teachers”.

The Neikirk Term Chair honors a UCLA professor or associate professor with an appointment in one of the donor-identified fields—classics, comparative literature, English, European languages, history, or philosophy—who has a distinguished record of teaching in Freshman Clusters or Honors Collegium. The annual revenue generated by the million-dollar endowment can be used by the chair holder to support course development and research activities. Some of this fund will also be budgeted for the chair holder’s department to cover an appropriate teaching release.

The term of the Chair will be limited to three ears, and the chair holder must teach at least one collegium or cluster course each appointment year.

About the Current Neikirk Chair
Jan Reiff received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1981. She worked at the Newberry Library, Northwestern University, Case Western Reserve University, and the University of Bremen before joining the UCLA faculty in 1992.

Prof. Reiff has published Structuring the Past: The Use of Computers in History (1992), edited, with Helen Hornbeck Tanner, Dirk Hoerder, Henry Dobyns, and John Long, The Settling of North America: The Atlas of the Great Migrations into North America from the Ice Age to the Present (1995), with James R. Grossman and Ann Durkin Keating, the prize-winning The Encyclopedia of Chicago (2004), and, most recently, Chicago Business and Industry: FROM FUR TRADE TO E-COMMERCE (2013). The online version of the Encyclopedia of Chicago was launched in 2005 as joint project of the Chicago Historical Society, the Newberry Library, and Northwestern University. She has also published numerous articles on a variety of different topics. Currently, Prof. Reiff is finishing a manuscript tentatively entitled "Manufacturing Communities: Pullman Workers and Their Towns, 1880-1981."

Prof. Reiff teaches a variety of courses at UCLA. The coordinator of the "Los Angeles" Freshman Cluster, she was also a member of the teaching staff for the "Sixties" GE cluster and has taught American social history, U.S. since 1960, the U.S. survey, and various undergraduate seminars about cities, including a neighborhood based course on L. A.'s Historic Filipinotown, and a seminar in digital history/digital humanities. Among the graduate seminars she has offered are Comparative Urbanisms, Popular Culture, U.S. Urban History, U.S. Since 1930, U.S. Social History, and Hypermedia and History. She has also taught at the University of Bremen and the University of Utrecht.

Reiff has served as Chair of UCLA's Graduate Council (2007-2009), the Senate's Committee on Teaching (2011-2012), and Chair of the Senate (2013-2014). She also currently serves as the Special Assistant to the Executive Vice Chancellor / Provost for Online Instruction.