Upload new images. The image library for this site will open in a new window.
Upload new documents. The document library for this site will open in a new window.
Show web part zones on the page. Web parts can be added to display dynamic content such as calendars or photo galleries.
Choose between different arrangements of page sections. Page layouts can be changed even after content has been added.
Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.
Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.
Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.
Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.
Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.
Cycle through size options for this image or video.
Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.
Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.
Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.
Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.
Remove the video from the media panel.
UD BAF fellows April Davison, Asia Dowtin and Cynthia Rivas with
Norma Anderson, who founded the Bill Anderson Fund in her husbands
When the late William A. Anderson ventured onto the scene of disasters to survey the damage and interview survivors, or when he attended professional conferences during his long and productive career, he often ruefully noted that he was the only African American researcher in sight.
Now, a fund established in his memory and dedicated to his goal of improving diversity in the field of disaster studies has found a home at the University of Delaware.
Anderson, who died in 2013, had longstanding ties to UD's Disaster Research Center (DRC) and was among the center's first doctoral students when it was founded in 1963 at Ohio State University. (It moved to UD in the 1980s.)
His widow, Norma Anderson, created the nonprofit Bill Anderson Fund (BAF) in 2014. With what she called "a groundswell of support" from her husband's many former colleagues, students and prot??g??s, BAF has gone on to provide graduate students across the U.S. with assistance in building careers in disaster research and practice.
"We have a wonderful and very forward-thinking board of directors, and we've been very active in holding workshops and mentorship programs," Norma Anderson said. "But my ultimate goal was always to have the Bill Anderson Fund housed at a university, and to have a director who was an academic.
"I am so thrilled that we're going to be at the University of Delaware. Bill was in the first cohort of the Disaster Research Center, so in many ways we see him returning to his professional home."
The University and BAF reached an agreement for UD to become the flagship home of the fund, while other universities around the country are expected to continue their own associations with BAF as satellite institutions. In August, the BAF board of directors unanimously accepted UD's proposal to house the fund.
A search committee was formed and met this month to begin a national search for a director, who will be a UD faculty member and will also play a leadership role in working with satellite institutions. Plans call for the number of BAF fellows and programs to continue and expand, along with outreach and fundraising efforts.
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
Tricia Wachtendorf and Jim Kendra are the directors of UD's Disaster Research Center, now the flagship home of the Bill Anderson Fund.
"Our academic expertise makes us a strategic
partner," said Tricia Wachtendorf, co-director of the DRC, which is the
nation's first center devoted to the social scientific study of
disasters. "It also touches our heart because Bill Anderson has been so
much a part of us."
BAF will be housed within the Disaster
Research Center in the College of Arts and Sciences and will work to
bring together students from across all seven colleges at the
Wachtendorf noted that Bill Anderson's lifelong
advocacy for greater diversity among disaster researchers and
practitioners is a goal, not just of the fund created in his name but
also of the DRC.
"It's often those in minority communities who
are disproportionally exposed to risk in disasters and who suffer
disproportionally when disasters occur," she said. "That's why it's even
more important to have scholars from those historically
underrepresented segments of our communities conducting research and
playing an active role in policy decisions."
Norma Anderson said her husband often spoke about that same issue.
was very dedicated to his work, and he was always concerned about the
lack of diversity in the field," she said. "It really resonated with me,
and I thought that if I could create this nonprofit to make a positive
change in his memory, that would be something we could be proud of."
Anderson's other professional passion was his dedication to mentoring,
she said. Because he benefited from mentoring early in his career and
went on to mentor many others, BAF initiatives focus on mentoring as one
of the fund's two programs.
Bill Anderson Fund fellows
doctoral students, in a variety of disciplines related to disaster
studies, are current BAF fellows at several universities nationwide.
Another eight students have recently been accepted into the program,
Norma Anderson said.
At UD, the current BAF fellows are doctoral
students Cynthia Rivas in disaster science and management, April Davison
in urban affairs and public policy and Asia Dowtin in geography.
Davison calls BAF "more than a community of scholars and practitioners in the field [but also] a support system."
underrepresented minorities in the field, she said, the fellows and
their mentors rely on one another for support and celebrate one
another's accomplishments. By participating in the program, Davison said
she has been inspired and grateful to learn about Bill Anderson's
career and to follow in his footsteps.
"Norma Anderson knows each
fellow personally and is genuinely invested in our path toward success,"
she said. "She is a powerhouse [who] has worked tirelessly to see the
organization grow and make a difference in the field."
who recently returned from an exploratory DRC visit to Houston in the
aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the goal of increasing diversity in the
study of disasters is a key to finding better solutions in the future.
I see the BAF doing is helping give individuals from underrepresented
populations opportunities to not only increase representation but bring
to the table different ways of approaching, thinking and dealing with
disasters," Rivas said, adding that disaster response is a complex issue
and requires a variety of perspectives and approaches.
came into the BAF it not only allowed me to connect to people who are
interested in addressing, dealing and solving issues in the disaster
science realm but it also allowed me to connect with people that have
faced the same circumstances and difficulties as I have and who are
coming from underrepresented and vulnerable populations."
William Averette Anderson had a prominent career as a pioneering researcher in the field of disaster studies and was known for his leadership in fostering student learning and in mentoring the next generation of researchers.
holds three workshops a year, where fellows present their research,
share their experiences and network with potential colleagues. The
November conference was held at UD, allowing students from other
universitiessome of which may not have a dedicated specialty in
disaster research like the DRCto connect.
This November, the fellows will be returning to UD for their second annual fall workshop.
Wachtendorf and Anderson emphasized the interdisciplinary nature of the
field and of BAF and the DRC. From engineering to economics to
sociology, they said, graduate students from across UD might become BAF
"There are so many critical issues, and disasters are
going to continue to occur," Anderson said. "We want to support the
leaders of tomorrow in many, many different disciplines."
About Bill Anderson and the fund
Averette Anderson earned his doctorate in sociology at Ohio State
University in 1966 and went on to a career as a college professor, a
National Science Foundation (NSF) officer, a World Bank natural disaster
specialist and an official of the National Research Council.
was known as a pioneering researcher and a leader in fostering student
learning and in mentoring the next generation of disaster scholars.
a professor at Arizona State University, he directed the American
Sociological Association's minority fellowship program. Later, at the
NSF, he promoted studies of the effects of disasters on vulnerable
The Bill Anderson Fund aims to expand the number of
minority professionals in the field of disaster and hazard research and
practice, with the diversity of the field ultimately reflecting that of
Article by Ann Manser; photos by Kathy F. Atkinson