For their commitment to Beloit and the education of their students, the following faculty receive emeriti status upon retirement.
Professor of Religious Studies Debra Majeed is an award-winning teacher, author, scholar, mentor, and social activist, and the first African-American woman and first Muslim to earn tenure at Beloit College.
From the time she joined the faculty in 1999, she has made a profound impact through her scholarship and teaching of religious studies, Islamic studies, cultural and identity studies, and womanist studies. She has furthered a public understanding of Islam and the experience of American Muslims as a scholar and a practitioner and contributed to the well-being of the college community by speaking directly and convincingly at critical junctures when her voice was most needed.
A religious historian, she has published numerous articles, book chapters, and is the author of Polygyny: What it Means When African American Muslim Women Share Their Husbands, published by University Press of Florida (2016).
She earned her undergraduate degree from Pepperdine University, her M.A. and M.Div. from Fuller Evangelical Theological Seminary, and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. In 2017, she received the Underkofler Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, an honor based on student nominations.
Jo Ortel, Professor of Art History and holder of the Nystrom Chair in Art History, joined the Beloit College faculty in 1997.
Her courses on modern contemporary art, Native American art, and environmental art have engaged and inspired students through wide-ranging projects. During her tenure, she was adept at forming creative interdisciplinary connections, most notably integrating art and art history with environmental studies. She developed and taught one of those cross-disciplinary courses, Contemporary Art in an Age of Global Warming, using the Powerhouse, Beloit’s student union and recreation center, to teach students about art’s potential to engage with substantive problems.
Her research and scholarship on contemporary Native American art includes the publication of Woodland Reflections: The Art of Truman Lowe (2004). Published by the University of Wisconsin Press, her book showcases the life and work of the contemporary Ho-Chunk artist.
In 2003, she received the Underkofler Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at Beloit. She earned her B.A. from Smith College, her M.A. from Oberlin, and her Ph.D. in art history from Stanford University.