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A Faculty That Inspires Learning


University of Virginia faculty members are committed to conveying the knowledge young people need to be productive citizens in society and instilling in students an appreciation for civil discourse. Along with this commitment, they strive to inspire each student, bringing their passion and enthusiasm for intellectual inquiry into the classroom and beyond the Grounds. Society relies on University faculty researchers to generate the discoveries and tools it will use to take on modern challenges. The consistently high rankings that the University earns reflect the commitment and creativity of U.Va. faculty in meeting these responsibilities.

A Balanced Distribution of Excellence

Dean of the School of Architecture Kim Tanzer was recognized by the American Institute of Architects for her leadership in strengthening the study of architecture through academic research and extensive service.

The level of faculty excellence that supports national rankings is both wide and deep. The long-awaited assessment of U.S. doctoral programs by the National Research Council shows a balanced distribution of high-quality scholarship across the University. More than one-quarter of the University's programs included in the assessment were in the top ten in the council's two overall rankings. The range of prestigious scholarly academies that selected U.Va. faculty members for membership confirms these results:

  • Ming-Jer Chen, the Leslie E. Grayson Professor of Business Administration, was elected to the Fellows Group of the Academy of Management. He will become the academy’s president in 2012.
  • Eric Patashnik, professor of politics and public policy and associate dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, was made a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.
  • Barbara A. Spellman, professor of psychology and professor of law, was named a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • Kim Tanzer, dean of the School of Architecture and the Edward E. Elson Professor of Architecture, was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects.
  • Herbert “Chip” Tucker, the John C. Coleman Professor of English, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Leaders in Their Fields

Members of the University's creative writing program, considered one of the best creative writing programs in the nation, received a number of honors. In addition to her election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Rita Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English, was presented the Ambassador Award at Oklahoma's Celebration of Books, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for poetry, and an Ohioan Book Award for Poetry. These last two awards were for her 2009 book, Sonata Mulattica. Another poet in the creative writing program, Debra Nystrom, won the Library of Virginia Award for Bad River Road, her third collection. Short-story writer and MacArthur Fellow Deborah Eisenberg received the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her book The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg.

Rita Dove, Deborah Eisenberg and Debra Nystrom with their current publications.

The University's mathematicians were also singled out for accolades. Irena Lasiecka, professor of mathematics, was the first woman selected for the W. T. and Idalia Reid Prize, one of the top awards in differential equations and control theory. Two of her younger colleagues, associate professor Michael Hill and assistant professor Mikhail Ershov, were named Sloan Research Fellows for 2011.

Mathematics professor Michael Hill won a Sloan Research Fellowships, given to early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise.

Scientists and engineers received their share of honors. Biologist Sarah Kucenas received the Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award from the March of Dimes. Two other young scientists, chemist Linda Columbus and physicist Austen Lamacraft, were named Cottrell Scholars by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. Edward Botchwey, professor of biomedical engineering and orthopaedic surgery, received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

In a time of decreased funding for individuals in the arts, humanities, and sciences, three faculty members in the College of Arts & Sciences secured Guggenheim Fellowships. They were Alon Confino, professor of history; Paolo D'Odorico, the Ernest H. Ern Professor of Environmental Sciences; and Kath Weston, professor of anthropology and director of the Studies in Women and Gender program.

Highlights of Faculty Scholarship

A number of books by faculty members were recognized with awards. Our South: Geographic Fantasy and the Rise of National Literature by Jennifer Greeson, assistant professor of English, won the 2010 C. Hugh Holman Award from the Society for the Study of Southern Literature. Apollo, Augustus, and the Poets by John F. Miller, professor of classics and chair of the department, received the 2010 Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit, the preeminent prize in the field of classical scholarship. A Transnational Poetics by Jahan Ramazani, the Edgar F. Shannon, Jr., Professor of English, won the Harry Levin Prize from the American Comparative Literature Association.

In the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, seven of the department's eighteen faculty members completed a total of nine books, all published or about to be published. The department's graduate program also received the National Research Council's highest ranking.