In 2008, the President's Commission on the Future of the University identified five core values: faculty excellence, innovation and collaboration in the pursuit of knowledge, leadership for the public good, diversity, and honor and ethics. The University's distinguished faculty members demonstrate their commitment to these values in their teaching, scholarship, public service, and research.
School of Architecture
Recent additions to Campbell Hall include the Elmaleh East Wing and the South Wing, which have added review rooms, faculty offices, seminar rooms, and a technology bridge. The renovated Fine Arts Café located on the first floor offers local and organic foods. Victor Elmaleh (Architecture ‘42) and his wife, Sono, provided major funding for the east addition.
The University relies on faculty for this strong intellectual and creative leadership. The world looks to higher education, with its scholarship, research, and innovation, for solutions to the complex issues society faces now and in the future. The research and discovery process, which is central to U.Va.'s educational initiatives, is guided by faculty whose common goal is to add to the store of knowledge and advance the research enterprise, for the benefit of all society.
Taking a Multidisciplinary Perspective
In 2009–10, the University launched a number of institutes and centers to promote multidisciplinary research and education. The new Center on Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness, a joint venture of the Batten School and the Curry School, brings together faculty from education, public policy, sociology, economics, and law. These faculty members will collaborate on research efforts to increase the availability and quality of early childhood education, enhance teacher effectiveness, and increase college attendance, particularly among low-income and underrepresented groups. The center director is James Wyckoff, professor of education at the Curry School and a renowned economist noted for his educational policy research.
The new Asia Institute builds on the University's substantial resources in Asian studies, which span language studies, the humanities, and the social sciences. The creation of the institute formalizes and unifies existing initiatives that include the activities of the Tibet, East, and South Asia Centers, and the Asian Pacific American Studies program.
To develop a long-term plan for multidisciplinary research, the Office of the Vice President for Research has assembled a planning group, V-RISE (Virginia-Research, Innovation, Science, Engineering). "The University's long-term investment in the core sciences, in the arts and humanities, in engineering, and in medicine and health, is a powerful force for creating positive societal change in Virginia and for the national and global economy," said Thomas Skalak, vice president for research. V-RISE draws stakeholders from across the Grounds to formulate a pan-University vision for U.Va.'s research enterprise and its contributions across the globe.
Reaching Consumers of Knowledge
Faculty scholarship and research are shared beyond the University through various means, such as publishing results in journals and databases, working on joint projects with colleagues at other institutions, serving on national policymaking bodies, forming collaborative partnerships with corporations and other organizations, and participating in conferences on public and academic issues.
Martin Wu, assistant professor of biology, is one of the scientists who contributed to the genomic encyclopedia recently established by the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute. Bacteria play a fundamental role in everything from human health to the biosphere, yet researchers have sequenced the genomes of just a tiny fraction of the 150 million species. Mr. Wu and his colleagues are contributing newly sequenced genomes to this database to create a more balanced catalog of the diversity of genomes present on the planet, which in turn will broaden the study of bacterial life.
Thousands of previously unpublished documents from the nation's founders, including James Madison, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, can now be found online, thanks to ROTUNDA, the digital imprint of the University of Virginia Press. By posting these documents in searchable format on the Founders Early Access portion of its site, the Press places these documents in the hands of researchers who would otherwise have to wait until authoritative printed editions were published.
School of Engineering
Wilsdorf Hall was completed in 2006 with the support of University resources, private gifts, and corporate funding. Gregory H. Olson (Engineering '71) made a lead gift to construct the five-story research building, which honors the late Professor Heinz G. F. Wilsdorf, first chair of the Department of Materials Science, and his wife, the late University Professor Emerita Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf.
Timothy Beatley, the Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities in the School of Architecture, has written extensively on sustainability and green cities. He is now turning to film to introduce his ideas to a wider audience. Working with Boulder, Colorado–based filmmaker Chuck Davis, he produced a documentary called The Nature of Cities, which shows how the built environment and nature can work together to sustain and rejuvenate life.
Several faculty members serve on professional boards and policymaking bodies. In May 2010, President Obama appointed John D. Arras, the Porterfield Professor of Biomedical Ethics and professor of philosophy, to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Mr. Arras has published extensively on such topics as physician-assisted suicide, the ethical dilemmas raised by public health catastrophes, and the conduct of international drug trials.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius appointed School of Medicine Vice President and Dean Steven T. DeKosky, M.D., to the National Institutes of Health National Advisory Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NACCAM). Dr. DeKosky led the 2000–08 Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study and studies the development of Alzheimer's disease.
James Aylor, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Louis T. Rader Professor of Electrical Engineering, was appointed a director on the Engineering Deans Council of the American Society of Engineering Education. The council meets to assess and recommend policies affecting the overall administration of accredited engineering institutions.
Translating Ideas into Innovation
Over the past five years, U.Va. researchers have reported the invention of 885 new technologies, 302 of which have been licensed to companies and institutions for further development. The University is now reaching out to other stakeholders to help drive this process of research and development. Construction began in Prince George County on Crosspointe, the largest Rolls-Royce manufacturing facility built from the ground up in the United States. Cross-pointe will house the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, a joint research center supported by the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Rolls-Royce. Engineering School research in coatings, corrosion, and magnetic bearings will be applied to improve jet engine technology development at the facility.
In Bedford, Virginia, construction is under way on the new Center for Advanced Engineering Research (CAER), which will focus on nuclear energy research and distance education. The engineering school, along with other collaborators such as nuclear power company AREVA and Virginia Tech, proposed the research agenda for the center and sponsored the Center for Safe and Secure Nuclear Energy, to be housed at CAER. The Virginia Tobacco Commission provided $7.6 million to build the facility.
The University hosted its second annual Venture Summit in March 2010, attracting venture capitalists who represent roughly $20 billion in capital. The summit highlighted the need for innovation in such areas as energy, water, and mobile information technology. Attending faculty and students presented their start-up companies, networked, and discussed research funding. This event showcases U.Va.'s position as a destination for technology-based ventures and connects investors with researchers who generate innovative ideas for new processes, products, and technology.
The appointment of W. Mark Crowell as the first executive director of innovation partnerships underscores the University's commitment to corporate, private, and government partnerships. Mr. Crowell, former vice president for business development at the Scripps Research Institute, will build partnerships to enhance licensing, entrepreneurship, and commercialization at U.Va.
Recognition for Rising Faculty
The University strives to provide an environment that supports the entrepreneurial ability and energy of rising U.Va. faculty members. The recognition for faculty achievements below reflects how efforts to support faculty have been successful, and also demonstrates the high level of productivity of talented young faculty members.
Kevin Janes, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, received multiple honors this past year. He was one of fifty-five engineers and scientists to receive a 2009 National Institutes of Health New Innovator Award. And he received a Packard Fellowship, which allows promising professors to pursue science and engineering research early in their careers. Mr. Janes uses a systems approach to study the signaling processes within cells, research that could lead to new diagnostic techniques and improved treatments for a variety of cancers.
Assistant Professor Randy Jones, another faculty member at the beginning of his career, received a three-year Nurse Faculty Scholar award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Mr. Jones is devising a protocol to help patients with advanced-stage disease make better decisions about treatments that affect their quality of life.
Linda Columbus, assistant professor of chemistry, received a National Institutes of Health grant along with a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development award to support her study of the membrane proteins that serve as gatekeepers for cells.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science Kamin Whitehouse received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for a project that will make it easier for scientists and engineers to sense and manipulate the physical world with small wireless devices. This work will enable unprecedented data collection for environmental, agricultural, and social sciences. The project's outcome will be a new software paradigm called Macrolab that will enable hundreds or thousands of sensors and actuators to be programmed and deployed while requiring novice users to write only a few lines of code.
Examples of Faculty Achievement
One of the critical factors influencing a young scholar's decision to come to the University is the opportunity to work closely with eminent faculty whose work has shaped their fields. The honors senior faculty members received this year demonstrate that groundbreaking work has been sustained here over decades of hard work.
Karen Van Lengen, the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Architecture, was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. Ms. Van Lengen, who was the school's dean from 1999 to 2009, is known for her research on sound, communication, and the built environment.
Michael Menaker, Commonwealth Professor of Biology, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He was cited for his pioneering work on the circadian rhythms that regulate the function of virtually all living things.
Curry School of Education
Bavaro Hall, which opened in fall 2010, nearly doubles the Curry School's work space. Private gifts funded construction, with generous support from Daniel M. Meyers, chair of the Curry Foundation Board of Directors. The building is named for Mr. Meyers' friend, the late Anthony D. "Wally" Bavaro, who played professional football then became a history teacher and coach in Massachusetts public schools.
The University's creative writing program has long been considered one of the best in the nation, ranking third among all full-residency programs by Poets & Writers magazine. Deborah Eisenberg, a short-story writer and English professor, was among the twenty-four creative individuals singled out to receive a 2009 MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called genius grant. The award will allow her to reserve more of her time for writing. Her latest collection of short stories is Twilight of the Superheroes.
Three faculty members were elected this year to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences—John C. Jeffries, Jr., David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law; Dean of the School of Law Paul G. Mahoney, David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law and the Arnold Leon Professor of Law; and Gerald L. Clore, Commonwealth Professor of Psychology.
Continuing to Break New Ground
The University's ability to accomplish leading-edge research and scholarly endeavors depends in large part on the faculty members' ability to attract funding from corporate and government sources. David Grissmer and Andrew Mashburn, two research scientists at the Curry School, received a federal stimulus grant distributed by the National Institutes of Health to study the connection between fine motor skills and the development of mathematical skills.
The School of Law received a grant to study recent changes to state mental health law recommended by a commission formed after the 2007 Virginia Tech tragedy. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation directed the funds to a team led by Richard Bonnie, the Harrison Foundation Professor of Medicine and Law and the Hunton & Williams Professor of Law. The team's findings will help improve the implementation and positive impact of the Health Care Decisions Act, and will be disseminated nationally, according to the foundation's Public Health Law Research program.
In the Engineering School, Sudhanva Gurmuirthi, assistant professor of computer science, joined a multiuniversity team that won a $1 million Google Focused Research Award to conduct research on creating energy-efficient Internet data centers. Without improvements in efficiency, data centers in the United States are expected to consume more than 100 billion kilowatt hours annually in 2011.