Of The First Order"
Faculty At The Forefront Of Their Disciplines
Jefferson understood that the foundation of future eminence for
his university would be its faculty. He mounted an international
search for "characters of the first order," though the
fledgling institution could hope to recruit only "a junior
set of aspirants." As in Jefferson's time, the University's
current and future stature depends in large measure on its ability
to retain women and men who are extending the frontiers of knowledge
and who will use their discoveries to enrich the classroom experiences
of their students and to serve the people of the Commonwealth
and the nation.
Nearly 180 years after Jefferson appointed his first faculty,
the University can attract not only superbly qualified young scholars
but also distinguished professors with established reputations
as leaders in their disciplines. Their honors and achievements
this past year reflect the extraordinary dedication, energy, and
quality of mind found throughout the academic community on the
Among Distinguished Company
The three faculty members who were elected fellows of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences this year represent the caliber of
individuals who were beyond Jefferson's reach in 1824. Among
them is C. David Allis, the Harry F. Byrd, Jr., Professor of Biochemistry
and Molecular Genetics. In one of the most important genetic findings
of the past decade, Mr. Allis and his team discovered what has
been called a "second genetic code" that is a critical
factor in turning genes on and off.
Also honored was Matthew Holden, Jr., who holds the Doherty Professorship
in Government and Foreign Affairs. A former commissioner of the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the author of some thirty
books and journal articles, he is an expert on administrative
process and national institutions, regulatory and energy policy,
and urban government.
Edward L. Ayers, the Hugh P. Kelly Professor of History and the
new dean of Arts and Sciences, also was elected a fellow of the
Academy. The award-winning teacher has written and edited several
important books about U.S. and Southern history, and he launched
the "Valley of the Shadow" project, a highly acclaimed
digital archive of two Civil War communities.
Distinguished scientists who received accolades this year include
Anita K. Jones, University Professor of Engineering and Computer
Science and the Lawrence R. Quarles Professor of Engineering and
Applied Science, and Zhifeng Shao, professor of molecular physiology
and biological physics. Both were named fellows of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest
federation of scientists and publisher of the journal Science.
Ms. Jones was recognized for her service as director of defense
research and engineering in the U.S. Department of Defense, while
Mr. Shao was honored for his contributions to the development
of atomic force microscopy for biological applications.
In the School of Architecture, Associate Professor Kenneth Schwartz
was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Architects,
one of only seventy-two architects in the nation and the only
one from Virginia so honored this year. A former associate dean
of the Architecture School, he was cited for advancing the standards
of architectural education, training, and practice.
Honored by Their Peers
Urbanism: Reducing The Ecological Footprint Of Our Cities
With increasing awareness of the ecological impact of our
cities, urban planners are devising ways to make communities
not only less damaging to the environment, but also more
sustainable and more livable. This is called "green
urbanism," and one of its leading proponents is Timothy
Beatley, professor of urban and environmental planning in
the School of Architecture. In a recent study of European
cities that have taken measures to optimize energy use,
reduce dependence on automobiles, and prevent sprawl, he
uncovered some valuable lessons for the United States.
In Helsinki and Vienna, hot water from power plants is piped
into district heating networks, warming homes and offices.
The result is more efficient use of fuel and reduced emission
of greenhouse gases. In the Dutch city of Amersfoort, solar
energy systems are incorporated into new residential and
community buildings, including schools and recreation centers.
In Delft, public buildings are constructed with solar hot
water and heat recovery systems, as well as electric lighting
that adjusts automatically to changes in natural illumination.
In Freiburg, Germany, the heart of the urban center is accessible
only to trams, pedestrians, and bicycles, and the rest of
the city uses traffic calming to keep speeds below 30 kilometers
per hour. This has led to fewer traffic fatalities, decreased
air pollution, and a safe and pleasant pedestrian environment.
Mr. Beatley, who took fifteen graduate students abroad in
June to examine models of green urbanism, notes that these
approaches to planning and development enjoy strong public
support in Europe. He admits it will be a challenge to make
such practices equally appealing to Americans, who place
a high premium on convenience and independent mobility.
"We must overcome the perception that it requires great
sacrifice to live in sustainable communities," he says.
"There are ways we can continue to progress and flourish,
and at the same time protect the natural capital that supports
and scope of the honors that have come to our faculty this year
are an indication both of the quality of their individual efforts
and of the tremendous range of innovative scholarship conducted
on the Grounds.
Consider the following examples:
Psychology professor Michael Kubovy received a Guggenheim Fellowship
for 2001 to work on his book The Pleasures of Minds.
Rita Felski, professor of English, received the thirty-seventh
annual William Riley Parker Prize for an outstanding article published
in PMLA, the Modern Language Association's journal of literary
Daniel P. Hallahan, professor and chair of curriculum, instruction,
and special education, and James M. Kauffman, the Charles S. Robb
Professor of Education, were cited among the most influential
people nationwide in special education by the journal Remedial
and Special Education.
Dr. George A. Beller, chief of cardiology, received the 2000 James
B. Herrick Award of the American Heart
Association's Council on Clinical Cardiology.
Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf, a materials scientist and University
Professor of Applied Science, was named the Christopher J. Henderson
2001 Inventor of the Year.
David W. LaRue, associate professor of accounting at the McIntire
School of Commerce, was named Outstanding Accounting Educator
of the Year for 2000 by the Virginia Society of Certified Public
H. C. Erik Midelfort, the Julian Bishko Professor of History,
won the Roland Bainton Award in History. He is the only person
to have won the Bainton Award twice.
Two pioneering digital projects in the humanities won the inaugural
e-Lincoln Prizes, awarded for scholarship that makes innovative
use of technology. They were "The Valley of the Shadow: Eve
of the War," created by historians Edward L. Ayers, Anne
Rubin, and William G. Thomas, and "Uncle Tom's Cabin
and American Culture: A Multi-Media Archive," created by
English professor Stephen F. Railton and the Harriet Beecher Stowe
Center in Hartford, Connecticut.
Poet Rita Dove, the Commonwealth Professor of English, received
the Lion Medallion from the New York Public Library.
Lotta M. Lofgren, a member of the English department, received
the American-Scandinavian Foundation's 2000 Translation Prize
for her English translation of August Strindberg's poetry.
Herman H. "Hank" Shugart, Jr., the William W. Corcoran
Professor of Environmental Sciences, was inducted into the Russian
Academy of Sciences.
Professors Klaus F. Ley and Thomas C. Skalak were elected fellows
of the American Institute of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering.
Dr. William A. Petri, Jr., was elected a fellow of the American
Academy of Microbiology.
R. Ariel Gomez
Pointing to New Ways To Renovate the Body
Given a nurturing environment, cells in a human embryo follow
a highly elaborate and tightly synchronized ritual that
includes division, specialization, and organization into
a smoothly functioning system of complex organs. This is
the essence of biodifferentiation, a broad field selected
by the Virginia 2020 Commission on Science and Technology
as a target for future investment at the University.
One of the leading researchers in this area is Dr. R. Ariel
Gomez, the Genentech Professor of Pediatrics and the new
interim vice president for research and public service.
Dr. Gomez specializes in the molecular processes that govern
development of the kidneys, the organs responsible for clearing
our blood of impurities. The promise of such research is
immense. If we know the mechanisms underlying human development,
we can find ways to intervene if these processes become
derailed. We can also use our knowledge of cell differentiation
to repair damaged tissue and organs.
To foster advances in this field, Dr. Gomez has created
the Center for Organogenesis, which brings together University
researchers who are studying heart, lung, and lymphocyte
development, among other areas. The goal of the center is
to capitalize on the inherent plasticity of our cells to
reverse the consequences of injury and illness.
Faculty Members Show Exceptional Promise
The faculty destined to lead the University in 2020 are those
in the early stages of their careers today. Many have already
begun to make their mark, including
Jonathan Haidt, assistant professor of psychology, the unanimous
choice to receive the second John Templeton Positive Psychology
prize of $100,000 for his pioneering work on "elevation,"
an emotion triggered by witnessing acts of kindness and generosity
Elizabeth F. Thompson, assistant professor of history, recipient
of the American Historical Association's Joan Kelley Prize
for the year's best book in women's history
Garrick E. Louis, assistant professor of systems engineering,
winner of the fifth annual Presidential Early Career Award for
Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United
States government on young researchers
Grace A. Muro, clinical instructor in nursing, recipient of the
Outstanding Achievement in Perioperative Clinical Nursing Education
Award of the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses.
Sustaining the Academic Enterprise
These and the many other honors received by faculty this year
provide a measure of the remarkable work that takes place at the
University, as does the nearly $225 million they were awarded
through sponsored research grants in 20002001. Sustaining
scholarly investigations across the Grounds, this external support
represents a vote of confidence on the part of government and
private funding agencies. They know they can expect significant
results from the research under way at the University.
Recent grants support a rich variety of innovative projects, including
efforts to share knowledge in new ways. With a two-year, $635,000
award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University Press
of Virginia will establish a peer-reviewed electronic publishing
program to disseminate original digital scholarship in the humanities.
The Curry School of Education, a nationally recognized leader
in educational technology, is one of four recipients of a three-year,
$7.2 million grant partially funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation. The outgrowth of a curriculum developed by Zahrl G.
Schoeny, associate professor of education, the grant will be used
to train K-12 superintendents and principals throughout Virginia
in using technology effectively to improve teaching in all state
Other grants have helped to establish new centers of discourse
and discovery, such as the Center on Religion and Democracy launched
by James Davison Hunter, the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor
of Sociology. The center was established with a $2.5 million challenge
grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts and a $10 million gift from
Frank Levinson (Graduate Arts and Sciences '78, '80)
and Wynnette Levinson of Palo Alto, California.
Science and engineering research of exceptional promise also has
earned significant support. John A. Stankovic, the BP America
Professor and chair of the Department of Computer Sciences, led
a team of investigators from the University and other institutions
that has attracted $8.6 million for research on such topics as
protocols for complex, fluid wireless networks. Approximately
$2 million from these awards will directly fund research at the
University, fueling new breakthroughs in information science.
Artifacts From The Jim Crow South
year, an anonymous donor presented the Carter G. Woodson
Institute for Afro-American and African Studies with a newly
discovered treasure. It was a collection of photographs,
letters, and other household items, dating from between
1865 and 1950, that were found in an abandoned house once
occupied by a local African-American family. In the past,
these items might have been discarded. Today, thanks to
the Woodson Institute and its ambitious new research project,
"Race and Place," there is a growing understanding
of the need to preserve cultural artifacts of the Jim Crow
The institute's director, Reginald D. Butler, sees
the "Race and Place" project--through its
photo exhibitions, seminars, and publications--as achieving
three significant goals. First, the project introduces African-American
undergraduates to the rigors and rewards of historical research.
Second, it builds mutually beneficial relationships between
the University and local African-American communities. Finally,
the project incorporates new technologies through partnerships
with the University's Center for Digital History, Digital
Media Lab, and Special Collections Digital Center.
To visit the project's online archive, go to http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/vcdh/afam/raceandplace/index.html.