Thirty faculty members honored for teaching, mentoring, service and scholarship | #education | #technology | #training


Editor’s Note: The information for this story was provided by the Office of University Development.

Thirty University of Michigan faculty members are receiving awards this fall in recognition of their notable contributions in the areas of teaching, mentoring, service and scholarship. A dinner and ceremony will take place in their honor at 6 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Rogel Ballroom of the Michigan Union.

Faculty members who received awards in 2020 also will be acknowledged at the event.

Here’s a look at this year’s awards and the recipients:

Distinguished University Professorships

The Board of Regents created the Distinguished University Professorships in 1947 to recognize senior faculty for exceptional scholarly or creative achievement, national and international reputation, and superior records of teaching, mentoring and service. Faculty selected for the recognition, in consultation with the dean of the school or college in which he or she holds an appointment, name the professorship after a person of distinction in his or her field of interest. The duration of the appointment is unlimited. Newly appointed Distinguished University Professors are expected to deliver an inaugural lecture. The recipients are Ruth Behar, Nancy G. Love, Joel Slemrod, Janet L. Smith and Karen E. Smith.

Ruth Behar, James W. Fernandez Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology, professor of anthropology, LSA

Ruth Behar

Behar is a cultural anthropologist and author who has touched thousands of lives through her scholarship, teaching, lectures, poetry and books. A star in anthropology’s humanistic tradition, she explores the depth of the human experience. She has lived in Spain and Mexico, and returns often to her native Cuba to build bridges around culture, literature and Jewish life. 

Behar is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the first Latina named a MacArthur Fellow. She has written eight books, including “Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in between Journeys” and “Lucky Broken Girl,” a young adult novel and winner of the American Library Association’s Pura Belpré Award. She wrote, directed and produced the award-winning video documentary “Adio Kerida/Goodbye Dear Love: A Cuban Sephardic Journey” and edited the pioneering anthology “Bridges to Cuba.”

She blends rigorous scholarship with self-discovery in her classes and has received several teaching awards. Her service contributions since joining the U-M faculty in 1989 include numerous invited talks, dedicated mentoring of junior scholars and departmental committee work. She also brings anthropology into the popular media, where it can inform public opinion and influence policy. 

Nancy G. Love, JoAnn Silverstein Distinguished University Professor of Environmental Engineering, Borchardt and Glysson Collegiate Professor, professor of civil and environmental engineering, College of Engineering

Nancy Love

Love, an environmental engineer, is recognized internationally for her revolutionary contributions to water process engineering. She employs chemical, biological and computational approaches to evaluate contaminants, and develops methods to sense and remove them from water and wastewater.

The first to investigate microbial stress in biological treatment systems in response to industrial pollutants, she also leads efforts to separate waste at the source and convert it into fertilizer. Her research is informed by and shared with water treatment professionals worldwide. 

A U-M faculty member since 2008, Love co-founded the Environmental Biotechnology Lab. She brings a pioneering spirit to her courses, including peer learning, and actively mentors women and underrepresented minority students. She co-created Train-the-Trainers, a curriculum to equip Flint residents to train neighbors about faucet-mounted filters. She serves on Flint’s Technical Advisory Committee for water and works with Ethiopia’s University of Addis Ababa on its water program.

Love is a past president of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a recipient of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists Science Award.

Joel Slemrod, David Bradford Distinguished University Professor of Economics, Paul W. McCracken Professor of Business Economics, professor of business economics and public policy, Stephen M. Ross School of Business; and professor of economics, LSA

Joel Slemrod

Slemrod, an authority on the design and effects of tax policies, has enhanced understanding of taxation and informed tax structure practices worldwide with his pioneering research on how tax policies influence households and firms. Best known for his work on tax administration and compliance, he found that firms, not individuals, remit 85 percent of tax revenues, and that compliance costs equal 10 percent of tax revenue raised in the United States.  

The founding director of the Office of Tax Policy Research, Slemrod joined the U-M faculty in 1987. The OTPR collects and distributes tax data used by researchers, policymakers and interested citizens. An outstanding teacher and prolific scholar, Slemrod has published 191 scholarly articles and 17 books, including “Rebellion, Rascals and Revenue: Tax Follies and Wisdom through the Ages.”

He has testified before Congress, advised the Congressional Budget Office and Internal Revenue Service, and assisted treasury departments on every continent. He edited the National Tax Journal, co-edited the Journal of Public Economics, and is a past president of the International Institute of Public Finance and National Tax Association, which awarded him the Daniel M. Holland Medal in 2012. 

Janet L. Smith, Martha L. Ludwig Distinguished University Professor of Biological Chemistry, Medical School; Margaret J. Hunter Collegiate Professor in the Life Sciences; research professor and associate director of the Life Sciences Institute; and professor of biophysics, LSA

Janet Smith

Smith, an authority on structural biology, uses X-ray crystallography to study physiologically important proteins and how they function. She has helped determine the structure of many biosynthetic enzymes and several viral proteins, including those associated with the dengue, Zika and West Nile viruses.

Throughout her career, first at Purdue University and since 2005 as director of the University of Michigan Center for Structural Biology in the Life Sciences Institute, she has coupled a passion for developing new methodologies in structural biology to discovering insights into the biology of macromolecules. 

Smith has published 200 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Science, Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. She played an important role in U-M’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by advancing development of a test to detect anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

Associate director of the LSI since 2017, Smith is an outstanding teacher and mentor and lectures internationally on structural biology and synchrotron radiation. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and received The Protein Society Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award in 2021. 

Karen E. Smith, William Fulton Distinguished University Professor of Mathematics, M.S. Keeler II Professor of Mathematics, professor of mathematics, LSA

Karen Smith

Smith is a brilliant mathematician whose research is in algebraic geometry, the study of geometric properties of solutions to systems of polynomial equations, one of the oldest areas of mathematics. She is a recognized world leader in understanding the field from a theoretical perspective. Her research has received continuous support from major funders, including the National Science Foundation.

A U-M faculty member since 1996, Smith has published four books, including a classic introduction to algebraic geometry, and her articles appear in leading journals. She is an impassioned advocate for inclusivity who works to improve climate in the mathematics department and more broadly. Smith has transformed undergraduate courses, served as associate chair for graduate studies, and supervised 20 doctoral students, including many from backgrounds underrepresented in mathematics.

She edited the American Journal of Mathematics and Advances in Mathematics and is invited to give major lectures, including the 2021 American Mathematical Society Annual Joint Meetings Colloquium Lecture. Smith, a winner of the AMS Ruth Lyttle Satter Prize in Mathematics, is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

Distinguished Faculty Achievement Awards

The Distinguished Faculty Achievement Awards honor senior faculty who consistently have demonstrated outstanding achievements in the areas of scholarly research or creative endeavors, teaching and mentoring of students and junior colleagues, service and other activities. The recipients are Howard Brick, Xuming He, Brian Jacob, Caroline R. Richardson and Louise Toppin.

Howard Brick, Louis Evans Professor of History, professor of history, LSA

Howard Brick

An eminent scholar and teacher of 20th century U.S. history and social theory, Brick masterfully chronicles in his classes and writing how intellectual, cultural, social and political history intertwine.

He has published scores of articles and five books, starting with “Daniel Bell and the Decline of Intellectual Radicalism” and “Age of Contradiction: American Thought and Culture in the 1960s.” In “Transcending Capitalism: Visions of a New Society in Modern American Thought,” he dissected, debunked and reconstructed 20th century ideas of post-capitalist social development. In addition, he co-authored “Radicals in America: The U.S. Left since the Second World War” and “At the Center: American Thought and Culture in the Mid-Twentieth Century.”

Brick, a U-M faculty member since 2009 and recipient of the Michigan Humanities Award, inspires students to dig deeply into the institutions, identities and social processes that shape the U.S. political landscape. He organized the university’s 2012 conference marking the 50th anniversary of “The Port Huron Statement” authored by U-M alumnus Tom Hayden.

Brick also directed U-M’s Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies and chaired LSA’s Bicentennial Theme Semesters planning committee.

Xuming He, Harry Clyde Carver Collegiate Professor of Statistics, professor of statistics, LSA

Xuming He

He, an expert in statistical theory and methodology, has achieved international stature with his creative contributions to complex data modeling and analysis. His research has applications in diverse fields, including concussion research, climate studies, bioinformatics, educational testing and public health.

A U-M faculty member since 2011, He has made seminal contributions to robust statistics, and his pioneering work in quantile regression has influenced a generation of researchers in statistics and econometrics.

An excellent teacher and student-centered mentor, He explains difficult concepts with clear, understandable examples. Under his leadership as department chair in 2015-20, the statistics department recruited nine junior faculty members, developed an undergraduate and a master’s program in data science, and reformed its doctoral and applied statistics master’s programs to accommodate students with diverse backgrounds.

He is president-elect of the International Statistical Institute and serves on the National Institute of Statistical Sciences board. Among other honors, he received the Rackham Distinguished Graduate Mentoring Award, a Medallion Lectureship from the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the International Chinese Statistical Association Distinguished Achievement Award.

Brian Jacob, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy, professor of public policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; professor of education, School of Education; and professor of economics, LSA

Brian Jacob

As one of the nation’s top education policy scholars, Jacob is renowned for his empirically rigorous and policy-relevant research. The first to apply new causal inference tools from economics to education, he pinpointed drivers of educational outcomes and student success.

His research has produced substantive insights into how to improve education and altered the way education policy research is conducted. He is an expert on test-based accountability to improve student outcomes, and was among the first to explore the relationship between teacher effectiveness and student achievement.  

Jacob, a U-M faculty member since 2007, co-founded the Ford School’s influential Education Policy Initiative and Youth Policy Lab. Passionate about teaching and mentoring, he has guided the work of 55 Ph.D. candidates and postdoctoral fellows. In 2019, he received U-M’s Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award.

Jacob publishes widely cited papers in the American Economic Review, The Quarterly Journal of Economics and other top journals. In addition, he edits The Review of Economics and Statistics and is a member of the editorial boards of the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics and Education Finance and Policy.

Caroline R. Richardson, Dr. Max and Buena Lichter Research Professor of Family Medicine, professor of family medicine, associate chair, Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine, Michigan Medicine

Caroline Richardson

Richardson is a professor of family medicine and health services researcher dedicated to advancing the care and prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity through evidence-based research and lifestyle changes. Her recent research focuses on diabetes prevention and Type 2 diabetes care quality.

 She has conducted trials of behavioral interventions for diabetes using low carbohydrate diets and continuous glucose monitoring, and recently launched a Blue Cross Blue Shield-supported statewide collaborative quality initiative called the Michigan Collaborative for Type 2 Diabetes.

In addition to her research program, Richardson leads the Department of Family Medicine’s research efforts as associate chair of research programs and is editor-in-chief of the Annals of Family Medicine. She is an active research mentor and teaches in the Clinical Trials Academy and the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research/Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation K-grant boot camp.

Richardson joined Michigan Medicine in 1998. She has served in numerous leadership roles, including as medical director of the Ypsilanti Health Center, where she currently sees patients. She directed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Quality Enhancement Research Initiative for Diabetes and led the VA Diabetes Prevention Program Implementation trial.

Louise Toppin, professor of music, School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Louise Toppin

A critically acclaimed coloratura soprano, Toppin is widely recognized as the pre-eminent authority on classical song and opera by African American composers. She has performed on stages around the globe and published songs of Black composers previously ignored by standard imprints.

She also has introduced students to the artistic vitality and cultural significance of Black music, previously as the Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and, since 2017, as a member of the U-M faculty.

Much of Toppin’s personal archive is available free online through the research tool she created, the African Diaspora Music Project, to provide information for professionals, teachers, students and researchers. She has released more than a dozen world premiere recordings on commercial labels and co-founded the annual George Shirley Vocal Competition that focuses on African American vocal repertoire for high school, college, pre-professional students and composers. 

She also organizes international conferences focused on Black music. Among other honors, she received the National Opera Association “Lift Every Voice” Legacy Award and the International Florence Price Festival 2020 Arts Advocacy Award.

Distinguished Faculty Governance Award

The Distinguished Faculty Governance Award was established by the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs in 1986. The award recognizes distinguished service to faculty governance over several years, with an emphasis on universitywide service. The Alumni Association funds the award. The recipient is Silke-Maria Weineck.

Silke-Maria Weineck, Grace Lee Boggs Professor of Comparative Literature and German Studies, professor of comparative literature, and professor of Germanic languages and literatures, LSA

Silke-Maria Weineck

Weineck, who served on the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs in 2014-17 and chaired SACUA in 2015-16, has demonstrated a deep concern for faculty and staff since joining the U-M faculty in 1998.

She has served in leadership roles in her department, as well as on the Advisory Board on Intercollegiate Athletics, the Committee on the Economic and Social Well-Being of the Faculty and advisory committees to U-M executive officers. 

While serving on the Administrative Services Transformation Administrative Council, Weineck negotiated an agreement that prevented staff layoffs. As head of SACUA, she negotiated a compromise on the dissemination of teaching evaluations and helped rewrite the professional standards section of U-M’s Standard Practice Guide.

She assisted dozens of faculty members as an LSA ombuds and faculty grievance monitor. She led a successful petition drive that persuaded U-M leaders to publicly support Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. She also organized the first public university faculty governance conference, which brought together representatives from 14 universities to discuss academic freedom and related issues.

Faculty Recognition Awards

The Faculty Recognition Awards are intended for mid-career faculty members who have demonstrated remarkable contributions to the university through achievements in scholarly research or creative endeavors; excellence as a teacher, adviser and mentor; and distinguished participation in service activities of the university and elsewhere. Eligible candidates include full professors with no more than four years in rank, as well as tenured associate professors. The recipients are Jacinta Beehner, Aida Levy-Hussen, Michael McKee, Shobita Parthasarathy and Westley Weimer.

Jacinta Beehner, professor of psychology and of anthropology, LSA

Jacinta Beehner

Beehner, a world expert on primate reproductive strategies, focuses primarily on non-human primates — baboons, geladas and capuchins — in their natural environments in Ethiopia and Costa Rica.

She discovered that a social variable — the identity of a resident male — can dramatically alter the timing of a female’s maturation and that prepubertal females are more likely to mature soon after a novel breeding male joins the group. She also found that stress hormones increase in female primates in the wild when their reproductive efforts are threatened.

Her research supports development of evolutionary models to predict social systems across mammals. She has published 68 articles in top journals, including Science, and frequently speaks nationally and internationally on her research.

Beehner, a U-M faculty member since 2006 and director of U-M’s Evolution and Human Adaptation Program, is an engaging teacher and mentor. Her students go on to academic careers at top research universities. She is active in multiple diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at U-M, including through organizing boot camps to help underrepresented students apply to graduate school. She also supports wildlife conservation efforts in Africa and the Americas.

Aida Levy-Hussen, associate professor of English, LSA

Aida Levy-Hussen

Levy-Hussen, a leading scholar of 20th and 21st century African American literature, integrates psychoanalytic theory, trauma and memory studies, and feminist and queer theory with literary studies to examine the structure and effects of contemporary fictions about race.

Her book “How to Read African American Literature: Post Civil Rights Fiction and the Task of Interpretation” invites readers to rethink literature’s mediation of racial history, culture and politics. She co-edited “The Psychic Hold of Slavery: Legacies in American Expressive Culture,” has published essays in numerous scholarly journals and serves on the Contemporary Literature editorial board.

Current and former students applaud Levy-Hussen’s inspired and indefatigable teaching and mentoring. Since joining the U-M faculty in 2017, she has contributed significantly to diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, including the Michigan Humanities Emerging Research Scholars Program, which encourages students from diverse backgrounds to pursue doctoral degrees.

She serves as director of graduate studies in the English department and on the executive committees of the English department and Institute for Research on Women and Gender. Levy-Hussen is also a member of the Modern Language Association Forum on 20th and 21st century American literature.

Michael McKee, associate professor of family medicine and of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Medical School

Michael McKee

McKee is a family physician and nationally recognized researcher on disability-related disparities in access to and utilization of health care, as well as an advocate for the rights of deaf and hard of hearing patients and others with disabilities.

A past president of the Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Loss, McKee has directed Michigan Medicine’s Deaf Health Clinic since joining the U-M faculty in 2013. He also directs MDisability, dedicated to expanding opportunities and quality of care for people with disabilities in family medicine, and co-directs Michigan Medicine’s Center for Disability Health and Wellness.

Renowned as a role model, teacher and mentor, McKee launched the Medical School’s first elective focused on disability health and an internship program that brings together students with disabilities and U-M faculty to conduct research and engage in advocacy. He has given 85 presentations and seminars around the world and has published 60 papers and book chapters.

McKee is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy and works with the Deaf Community Advocacy Network. He is a recipient of the 2020 Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award, among other honors.

Shobita Parthasarathy, professor of public policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; and professor of women’s and gender studies, LSA

Shobita Parthasarathy

Parthasarathy, co-founder and director of U-M’s Science, Technology and Public Policy program, is one of the nation’s top science and technology policy scholars. She studies the equity, ethical, environmental and health dimensions of emerging technologies such as biotechnology and machine learning. Her goal is to develop innovation and innovation policies that serve the public interest and promote social justice.

A U-M faculty member since 2005, Parthasarathy is the author of multiple articles and two books: “Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe” and “Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care,” winner of the 2018 American Sociological Association Robert K. Merton Book Award, and “Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care.” She provides expertise to the United States and other governments and co-hosts “The Received Wisdom” podcast.

Parthasarathy brings a practical and engaging lens to her courses, and intellectual and methodological diversity to the classroom. She serves as U-M’s representative to the Public Interest Technology University Network and is on the governing council of the Science and Democracy Network, a group of scholars interested in science policy and the politics of science. 

Westley Weimer, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, College of Engineering

Westley Weimer

Weimer is renowned for his leadership in software verification and other advances in computer engineering, including development of an automated method to find and fix defects in software programs. He employs machine learning and optimization techniques to explore such topics as graphics, security and wireless sensor networks. Additionally, he uses medical imaging to investigate the brain activity of software engineers when engaged in programming.

He currently is researching consciousness, time and ways to advance software quality through static and dynamic programming languages. His work has led to numerous honors, including four Association for Computing Machinery influential paper awards recognizing the significance of a paper 10 or more years after publication. 

Weimer, a U-M faculty member since 2017, is known for his lively and clear lectures. In 2019, he received the Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Award from the Computing Research Association. U-M computer science and engineering students named him the Eta Kappa Nu Professor of the Year in 2020.

As chair of the CSE diversity, equity and inclusion committee, he has successfully expanded departmental efforts to recruit and retain students from underrepresented groups. 

James S. Jackson Distinguished Career Award for Diversity Scholarship

The James S. Jackson Distinguished Career Award for Diversity Scholarship is awarded biennially to a senior faculty member at U-M who has made important contributions to understanding diversity, equity and inclusion through research, scholarship and creative endeavors, who has an outstanding record as an educator in teaching and mentoring, and whose work has focused on issues of importance to underrepresented communities. Recipients are invited to give a public lecture or performance addressing an aspect of diversity. The recipient is Arline T. Geronimus.

Arline T. Geronimus, professor of health behavior and health education, School of Public Health; research professor, Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research

Arline Geronimus

A renowned population health scholar, Geronimus proposed the construct of weathering more than 30 years ago to describe how systemic structural and cultural oppression and the coping it entails erodes the health of people of color and the poor in the United States. She has documented physiological manifestations of weathering, including accelerated biological aging and early-onset chronic disease in response to accumulated biopsychosocial health insults from conception through adulthood. 

Geronimus has advanced cultural diversity since joining the U-M faculty in 1987. As chair of the School of Public Health’s Department of Health Behavior and Health Education Doctoral Program, she grew and diversified the program and introduced curricular changes focused on structural dimensions of health inequity.

She has served on more than 30 dissertation committees. She also founded the Institute for Social Research Public Health Demography Training Program. She advised former President Barack Obama on health policy and serves on the national Head Start advisory board. Her weathering theory and research have been featured in print, broadcast and digital media.

She is a recipient of the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award and SPH Excellence in Research Award, and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

University Press Book Award

The University Press Book Award is presented to members of the university teaching and research staff, including emeritus members, whose books have added the greatest distinction to the Press List. Selections are made from books published within a span of two calendar years. The recipient is Carol Jacobsen.

Carol Jacobsen, professor emerita of art and design, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design; professor emerita of women’s and gender studies, LSA; and professor emerita in service, Law School

Carol Jacobsen

Jacobsen is an internationally recognized feminist, artist, writer and political organizer. In “For Dear Life: Women’s Decriminalization and Human Rights in Focus,” she chronicled an American criminal and legal system that imparts racist, gendered and classist modes of punishment to women lawbreakers. A pioneer in the study of women’s imprisonment and disparities in incarceration rates and sentencing between women and men, Jacobsen posits that women’s lawbreaking often is an effort to survive gender-based violence.

“For Dear Life” won the Freedom Fighter Award in the Independent Publishers Book Awards competition, a Nautilus Book Award in the social change and social justice category, and was a finalist in the May Sarton Book Awards.

Jacobsen joined the U-M faculty in 1995. Director of the Michigan Women’s Justice & Clemency Project since 1993, she worked with the prisoners themselves to successfully free 13 women from life sentences. She continues to exposehuman rights violations of incarcerated women.

Jacobsen received the Sarah Goddard Power Award in 2010 for her public contributionsto women. In recognition of her dedicated service, the Board of Regents named her professor emerita in July 2021.

Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service

The Regents’ Award for Distinguished Public Service recognizes public service activities that relate closely to teaching and research, and reflect professional and academic expertise. The recipient is Heather Ann Thompson.

Heather Ann Thompson, Cedric J. Robinson Collegiate Professor of History and African American Studies, professor of Afroamerican and African studies, professor of history, professor in the Residential College, LSA

Heather Ann Thompson

A historian and public intellectual, Thompson is best known for her book “Blood in the Water: The Attica Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for History, The Bancroft Prize and six additional book awards, and was a National Book Award finalist.

She also has authored “Whose Detroit: Politics, Labor, and Race in a Modern American City” and award-winning articles in her field. She writes for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker and other national publications.  

Thompson joined the U-M faculty in 2015. She co-founded the Carceral State Project, a group of faculty committed to combating mass incarceration via its Documenting Criminalization and Confinement research initiative and advocacy. The group has been a leader in campus efforts to eliminate a new U-M policy requiring disclosure of felony charges or convictions.

Thompson served on a National Academy of Sciences blue ribbon panel on mass incarceration, and sits on its standing Committee on Law and Justice. She also serves on the board of Art for Justice and other such organizations across the country.

Research Faculty Achievement Awards

The Research Faculty Achievement Awards honor people who hold at least a 60 percent appointment at the rank of research associate professor, research scientist or associate research scientist. Selection criteria include exceptional scholarly achievements, as evidenced by significant contributions to an academic field of study over time, a specific outstanding discovery or the development of innovative technology or practice. The recipients are Sarah Clark and Anatoly Maksimchuk.

Sarah Clark, research scientist, Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, School of Medicine

Sarah Clark

Clark has devoted her life to improving the health and well-being of children and families through research. Shortly after joining U-M in 1998, she co-founded the Susan B. Meister Child Health Evaluation and Research Center, which has become one of the nation’s pre-eminent pediatric health services research centers.

As associate director of the CHEAR Center from 1999-2014, Clark established a unique relationship with the state of Michigan to study how Medicaid services are provided to low-income children and adults, with feedback going directly to Medicaid officials to inform policy and programmatic changes.

Clark has co-directed the nationally recognized C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health since its inception in 2007. The poll was the first to bring the parent voice into issues affecting the health of U.S. children, including parenting, school environments, mental and emotional health, and vaccines.

An expert in childhood and adult immunization policy, she has published more than 200 scholarly articles covering topics from immunization patterns and beliefs to child health programs and policies. She also is committed to mentoring junior faculty, fellows and students.

Anatoly Maksimchuk, research scientist, Gérard Mourou Center for Ultrafast Optical Science, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, College of Engineering

Anatoly Maksimchuk

Maksimchuk, a leader in high-power laser development, studies the physics of relativistic plasmas and their applications, including table-top acceleration of high energy electron and ion beams. A U-M faculty member since 1992, he is co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation $20 million grant to design and build ZEUS, the Zettawatt-Equivalent Ultrashort pulse laser System, which will be the highest-power laser in the United States.

Maksimchuk’s research has applications in medical imaging, cancer radiation therapy and the detection of explosives and nuclear materials. He was lead author on a seminal paper describing generation of high-energy proton beams from high-intensity laser-plasma interactions. Among other advances in high field science, he discovered laser wakefield electron acceleration and observed collimated electron beams. He also produced radioactive isotopes with laser accelerated ions and high-energy electrons.

He has authored more than 130 papers in top journals, including Nature, Science and Physical Review Letters, and has mentored and supervised scores of researchers at the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science. Maksimchuk is a fellow of the American Physical Society and has received the College of Engineering’s Kenneth M. Reese Outstanding Research Scientist Award twice.

Research Faculty Recognition Awards

The Research Faculty Recognition Award honors people who hold at least a 60 percent appointment at the rank of research assistant professor or assistant research scientist. Selection criteria include exceptional scholarly achievements, as evidenced by publications or other scholarly activities in any academic field of study. The recipients are Casey M. Godwin and Stefanie Galban.

Casey M. Godwin, assistant research scientist, Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research, School for Environment and Sustainability

Casey Godwin

Godwin, an expert in applied biogeochemistry in the Great Lakes, studies the cycling of chemical elements in freshwater ecosystems. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, two problems that impact drinking water supplies and ecosystem function. He applies a variety of empirical approaches in both the laboratory and the field.

Godwin, who joined the U-M faculty in 2018, studies manganese cycling within Lake Erie, including conditions leading to the release of manganese from sediment and accumulation in the lake. When manganese is not removed during the water treatment process, the water becomes yellow, raising aesthetic and health concerns for communities surrounding the lake.

He has been the principal or co-principal investigator on seven proposals totaling more than $3.5 million that support research missions of the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He also is a mentor to numerous graduate students and professional staff at CIGLR.

Stefanie Galban, research assistant professor, Department of Radiology, Michigan Medicine

Stefanie Galban

Galban is known for the passion and scientific rigor she brings to cancer research. She identifies and designs therapeutic regimens to target, among other cancers, glioblastoma, the most common and deadliest primary brain tumor in adults, and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, an inoperable brain cancer in children.

She generates genetically engineered mouse models of cancer to speed up therapies, uses molecular imaging to facilitate understanding of how healthy cells transform into cancer cells, and studies the tumor immune microenvironment to enhance therapeutic efficacy. Among other contributions, Galban has identified cancer stem cells in DIPG as sensitive biological targets that can be modulated to eradicate this cancer.

A U-M faculty member since 2009, Galban has published 56 articles in high-impact journals, and has mentored more than 40 students and postdoctoral fellows. She has established fruitful collaborations with numerous scholars at the university and nationwide, and is a core member of U-M’s Rogel Cancer Center. She also is active in the American Association for Cancer Research and the Society for Molecular Imaging.

University Diversity and Social Transformation Professorships

The University Diversity and Social Transformation Professorships were launched in 2019 to honor senior faculty whose work has promoted the university’s goals around diversity, equity and inclusion. Recipients will hold their initial appointments for five years. They also will receive special faculty fellow status at the National Center for Institutional Diversity and spend at least one semester as a faculty fellow-in-residence. The recipients are Trachette L. Jackson, Hitomi Tonomura, Herbert G. Winful, Kristie Dotson and Lilia M. Cortina.

Trachette L. Jackson, University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor, professor of mathematics, LSA

Trachette Jackson

Jackson, an award-winning teacher and scholar, is renowned for her research contributions to mathematical oncology and her sustained efforts to recruit and support girls, women and underrepresented minority students in science, technology, engineering and math fields. Jackson has championed diversity, equity and inclusion since joining the U-M faculty in 2000.

She is a winner of the Blackwell-Tapia Prize, which recognizes a mathematician who excels in research and works to address underrepresentation of minorities in mathematics. She is also a fellow of the Association for Women in Mathematics and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

Among other initiatives, Jackson launched U-M’s Marjorie Lee Browne Scholars Program, which prepares students to succeed in top-rated doctoral programs in the mathematical sciences. She served as faculty director of M-Sci, a holistic support program for undergraduatesworking on STEM degrees.

She also spearheaded an effort to establish a U-M and Fisk University partnership to recruit students to STEM graduate programs at Michigan and founded Math Quest, a three-day math experience for fourth- through sixth-grade girls from Detroit public schools. She has served on diversity committees for several national societies.

Hitomi Tonomura, University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor, professor of history and of women’s and gender studies, LSA

Hitomi Tonomura

Tonomura, an internationally renowned historian of gender, has dedicated her career to the understanding of contemporary inequities through a historical lens of cultural diversity and power disparities.

A U-M faculty member since 1986, she has directed the Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies Program in the Department of American Culture, chaired INDIGO: The LSA Asian and Asian-American Faculty Alliance, and serves on the steering committee of the Women of Color in the Academy Project.

Tonomura has demonstrated a deep commitment to improving U-M’s climate, especially for Asian and Asian Americans, women of color and international faculty, students and staff. Supporting universitywide efforts to address equity and inclusivity at all levels, her work has ranged from mentoring junior colleagues to developing a public engagement course on the history and accomplishments of Asian Americans at U-M and in Michigan.

In her research and teaching, Tonomura explores the interplay between war and gender in premodern societies, and links it to the current discussion of topics such as the idealized masculinity and sexual violence. She has published books and articles, mostly on premodern Japanese history, including a prize-winning essay in The American Historical Review.

Herbert G. Winful, University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor, Joseph E. and Anne P. Rowe Professor of Electrical Engineering, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, College of Engineering; and professor of physics, LSA

Herbert Winful

Winful, one of U-M’s most ardent champions of diversity, equity and inclusion, has worked tirelessly to build inclusive communities and support individuals in science, technology, engineering and mathematics since joining the faculty in 1987.

He has received numerous accolades, including U-M’s Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award, the College of Engineering Raymond J. and Monica E. Schultz Outreach and Diversity Award, and a State of Michigan Teaching Award.

As director of education and outreach for U-M’s National Science Foundation Center for Ultrafast Optical Science, he provided STEM enrichment activities for pre-college minority students. In electrical and computer engineering, he established the Committee for an Inclusive Department and the annual Willie Hobbs Moore Distinguished Alumni Lecture named in honor of the first African American woman to earn electrical engineering degrees from U-M.

He leads the MI-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, a higher education partnership that seeks to increase the number of minority graduates in STEM fields. He has fostered scientific exchanges with Africa, helped establish a doctoral program in optics at Ghana’s University of Cape Coast and contributed to rebuilding engineering education in Liberia after its civil war.

Kristie Dotson, University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor, professor of philosophy and of Afroamerican and African studies, LSA

Kristie Dotson

Dotson, a philosopher and groundbreaking scholar of Black feminist philosophy, is renowned for her work on epistemic oppression — imbalances in information sharing — and the resilience that oppressive epistemological systems demonstrate when critiqued.

Her research has prompted reconsideration of racial and sexist biases that undergird philosophy as an intellectual field and informs efforts to fight those biases and cultivate more inclusive attitudes and practices.

Dotson joined the U-M faculty in August 2021 following a distinguished 13-year academic career at Michigan State University.

Dotson’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is reflected in her service and teaching, which encourages students to see how epistemic exclusions are created, perpetuated and can be combated through intellectual work and collective praxis. She is an inspiring academic program builder and administrator.

From 2015-20, serving in varying formal and informal roles, she helped to guide MSU’s African American and African Studies program through its transition into the Department of African American and African Studies. Dotson is a past-president of the Society of Young Black Philosophers, serves on the Social Epistemology Network steering committee, and is co-editor of the Philosophy Across Cultures series.

Lilia M. Cortina, University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor, professor of psychology, and of women’s and gender studies, LSA; and professor of management and organizations, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Lilia Cortina

Cortina is a leading scholar on the psychology of work. She uses scientific methods to study workplace mistreatment, from subtle social slights to general incivility to blatant harassment and violence.

A U-M faculty member since 2000, Cortina played a leadership role in developing and disseminating a landmark National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report on the sexual harassment of women. She also provided expert testimony to the Department of Defense Judicial Proceedings Panel, commissioned by Congress to review military procedures surrounding sexual assault. In addition, she testified to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Select Task Force on Harassment in the Workplace.

Cortina is an innovative teacher and tireless mentor of underrepresented students. As associate director of U-M’s ADVANCE Program from 2015-19, she developed and led initiatives to recruit and retain a diverse and excellent faculty. She also serves on U-M’s Committee on Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence, known as STRIDE.

Among other honors, she is the recipient of the Academic Women’s Caucus 2015 Sarah Goddard Power Distinguished Service Award.

University Librarian Achievement Award

The University Librarian Achievement Award recognizes exceptional distinction reflected in active and innovative career achievements in library, archival or curatorial services. The recipient is Charles Ransom.

Charles Ransom, librarian, library research – social sciences, University Library

Charles Ransom

A reference librarian and collection developer, Ransom pioneered the role of multicultural studies librarian. Throughout his 30 years as University Library liaison to the Department of American Culture and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, he has built strong, collaborative relationships with faculty and students, enabling the library to effectively align its services with campus priorities and needs.

Ransom inspires colleagues to look beyond mainstream materials to smaller presses and digital documentation, including community records and web archives, to ensure that all voices are represented. Recognizing a gap in library resources, he launched and built a hip hop collection that is used by scholars across campus.

He currently is collaborating on a digital history of the William Monroe Trotter Multicultural Center and student activism at U-M in conjunction with the center’s upcoming 50th anniversary.

A champion of universitywide climate assessment, equity studies, and funding for multicultural resources and programming, he has served as president of U-M’s Association of Black Professionals, Administrators, Faculty and Staff. He also has served on U-M’s Martin Luther King Day Committee since 1994 and the library’s MLK Day commemoration planning group for more than 20 years.

University Librarian Recognition Award

The University Librarian Recognition Award recognizes active and innovative early career achievement in library, archival or curatorial services. They are presented to librarians, archivists or curators who have no more than eight years’ practice in their profession. The recipient is Leigh Billings.

Leigh Billings, associate librarian, metadata management librarian, International Studies, University Library

Leigh Billings

Billings has distinguished herself as a leader in the library metadata community, locally and nationally. Metadata describes the characteristics of a library resource that allow it to be displayed in catalogs and shared with other systems.

Billings, who joined U-M as an information resources cataloging specialist in 2008, was promoted to information resources specialist senior in 2013 and to associate librarian in 2019. As the library’s first metadata management librarian, she has played a key role in developing metadata quality control and standardization initiatives that enhance access to University Library collections and those of partner institutions such as the HathiTrust Digital Library. 

Billings has served on multiple library committees, including as co-lead on the Mirlyn Classic Research Project Team and chair of the Discovery & Access Advisory Group. Her contributions have led to enhanced features on the library’s new search platform. As a member of the library’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Catalog Working Group, she helps identify and replace racist, sexist and homophobic language in the library catalog and advocates for change in problematic Library of Congress subject headings.

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