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The best investment a university can make is in its faculty. Not only do faculty members discover new knowledge that can improve the quality of life of millions of people, but each one educates and inspires thousands of students over the course of his or her career. U.Va. has done remarkably well attracting and retaining some of the most admired and well-respected faculty in the nation, if not the world. Even more noteworthy is the exceptional range of the faculty's excellence, which spans departments and schools across the Grounds.

Senior faculty members from around the University were elected fellows this year of our nation's most exclusive learned societies. Donald F. Hunt, University Professor of chemistry and pathology, Richard C. McCarty, professor of psychology, and Andrew P. Somlyo, the Charles Slaughter Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biology, were named as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The Pavilions

The Lawn
Lanterns were installed on the Lawn for one night in October 1999 by a Japanese exchange student as her final art project.

The caliber of research being done by faculty at the University Health System was also recognized by a number of awards. U.Va. cell biologist John C. Herr was named Outstanding Scientist of 2000, one of two top scientists in Virginia to be given the award. Herr's research, focusing on the biology of the sperm, has led to the development of the Žrst patented home-diagnostic tests for male fertility. Ronald P. Taylor, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, was named by the U.Va. Patent Foundation as the Christopher J. Henderson Inventor of the Year. He is recognized for his research into the treatment of diseases associated with pathogens in the bloodstream.


Dr. George Beller, chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, was installed as president of the American College of Cardiology.

In the School of Nursing, Barbara Parker was the recipient of the 2000 Distinguished Researcher Award by the Southern Nursing Research Society. Parker has led a number of projects exploring the issue of violence during pregnancy.

Curry School professor Daniel Hallahan was presented this year's Special Education Research Award by the Council for Exceptional Children. Hallahan is founder of the Learning Disabilities Research Institute and coauthor of the most widely used introductory-level textbook on exceptional learners.

William J. Kehoe, O'Dell Professor of Commerce, was given the Outstanding Service award by the American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences. Kehoe was also elected a Fellow by the Society for Marketing Advances.

Deborah Eisenberg, professor of creative writing, won the Rea Award for the Short Story. Established in 1986 to honor living U.S. or Canadian writers who make signiŽcant contributions to the short story form, the award carries a $30,000 prize.

NASA appointed Bob Swap, an assistant research professor in environmental sciences, the U.S. coordinator for the Southern Africa Regional Science Initiative 2000, an international effort to study the effect of land-use change in southern Africa on global warming.

Kyra D. Gaunt, assistant professor of music, received a Ford Foundation postdoctoral fellowship from the National Academies of Science. She also received a $30,000 research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her research on the articulation of identity in black cultural performance.

James A. Smith, associate professor of civil engineering, became the Žfth faculty member awarded the Cavaliers' Distinguished Teaching Professorship. Funded by the Athletics Department, the professorship recognizes eminent scholars who excel in teaching undergraduates.

Still at the Heart of the Academical Village

Thomas Jefferson encouraged faculty and students to use the University library by placing it in the Rotunda at the center of the Academical Village. Today, the Internet allows users from around the globe to tap many of the library's resources without stepping on Grounds.

Nonetheless, more people walk through the doors of the University library than ever before. The espresso bar that replaced the neat rows of card catalogs in the magnificent entry hall of Alderman Library is always bustling, and the rest of the hall is filled with students working intently on banks of computers.

Rather than rendering the library obsolete, technology has made it much more accessible. Students search the online catalog from their dorm rooms and arrive at the library with a list of books and periodicals they want to consult.

Karin Wittenborg, University librarian, reports the results: "Our users spend less time searching for material and more time using it."
Karin Wittenborg

Karin Wittenborg

Larry J. Sabato, the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs, received this year's Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award for signiŽcant contributions to University life for at least a decade.

Raymond J. Nelson, professor of English and former dean of arts and sciences, received U.Va.'s highest honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award, in 1999. Given annually since 1955, the award honors a member of the University community who exempliŽes in character, work, and influence the principles and ideals of the University's founder. This year, the University honored David T. Gies, professor of Spanish and former president of the Faculty Senate, with the award.

Building Centers of Excellence Across the Curriculum

The awards and honors faculty here receive are just one indication of the quality of the intellectual activity on the University Grounds. This year faculty attracted more than $209 million in funding for research from outside agencies, a University record. Again, the diversity of the awards they won highlights the broad strengths of our faculty:

  • The Curry School of Education received two grants from the U.S. Department of Education totaling $3.6 million. The grants will support the school's efforts to identify digital resource centers and train teachers to use them in the classroom.

  • Paul Allaire, a professor of mechanical engineering, and his associates at U.Va and the Utah ArtiŽcial Heart Institute, received nearly $4.2 million from the National Institutes of Health to continue development of an artiŽcial heart pump.

  • Six U.Va. projects, most having to do with digital preservation of historic archives, received just over $1 million in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

  • Five engineering faculty won National Science Foundation research grants totaling more than $3 million for fundamental research and innovative applications of information technology.

  • The engineering school won a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish a new Center for Nanoscopic Design.

Making Voting a Habit

staff of the center for gov studies
Staff from the Center for Governmental Studies, Melissa Northernm Alex Theodoridis, Dan Payne, and Chris Smith, helped with the Youth Leadership Voting Initiative.

When it comes to politics, the most disenchanted segments of society are Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers. U.Va.'s Center for Democratic Studies, founded by government professor Larry J. Sabato, has taken this problem to heart. This year, U.Va.'s Youth Leadership Initiative, a project organized by the center, joined with the Virginia Student/Parent Mock Election to conduct the largest mock election in the Commonwealth's history. The Youth Leadership Initiative developed software that allows students to vote online using secure cyber-ballots speciŽcally tailored to each student's home voting location. Other students will use paper ballots to vote at their schools. The United States Congress has endorsed the Youth Leadership Initiative, awarding the center a $2 million grant to take its next election to students around the nation.

Laying the Groundwork for Tomorrow's Treatments

Researchers at the University are taking a leading role in advancing knowledge of the human body and unraveling the mysteries of disease, opening the way for new treatments and cures. For instance, University researchers have linked the abnormalities in the function of Alzheimer's mitochondrial genes, Žrst described by U.Va. scientists in 1997, to one
of the characteristic abnormalities found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease. This research could be used to develop drugs to reverse the process or to prevent mitochondrial damage. Other researchers this year published Žndings that provide insights into what makes cells grow and divide. These Žndings may shed light on new treatment targets for some cancers.

The University ChapelOur researchers' ability to secure major grants, in the face of stiff competition, is a testament to the quality of research being conducted here. This year's awards included the following:

  • Dr. Jerry L. Nadler, the Kenneth R. Crispell Professor of Internal Medicine, and his collaborators received a $1.4 million award from the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation to develop new therapies to delay the onset of diabetes and reduce its complications. They were also awarded nearly $1 million from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the diabetes foundation to examine the link between diabetes and heart disease.

  • Avril Somlyo, Gary Owens, and Timothy Haystead received an $8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study how blood vessels develop and how their contractile activity is regulated.

  • The School of Medicine has received $1 million over Žve years from the National Institutes of Health to support an interdisciplinary bio-technology training program. The program will offer Ph.D.-level graduate students the chance to work alongside leading scientists in both academic and industrial settings.

  • A multidisciplinary research team, led by Dr. Paul M. Suratt, received $1.3 million from the National Institutes of Health to study how sleep apnea may slow a child's development and possibly cause poor school performance and behavioral problems.

  • A five-year, $5.1 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease will help U.Va. researchers led by Dr. Fabio Cominelli pinpoint the genetic factors underlying Crohn's disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes painful inflammation in the intestines.

  • Dr. Michael O. Thorner received a Žve-year, $500,000 unrestricted research grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation to study growth hormone regulation.

Involving Undergraduates
in Research

Faculty research has an immediate effect on the educational experience of our students. Research projects support many of our graduate students. They also provide undergraduates with the eye-opening and exciting experience of working on the outer limits of our knowledge. For instance, Jefferson and Echols Scholar Eric Dunham is helping physics professor Blaine Norum measure the properties of the strong nuclear force using the continuous electron beam accelerator at Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory. Dunham's job is to create a computer simulation that mimics the process, giving researchers the precise settings they need to optimize their results.

Another student, Natalie Beckman, is working in the lab of Dr. Thomas J. Braciale, director of the Beirne Carter Center for Immunology Research and an expert on the respiratory syncytial virus. This virus is responsible for a high proportion of hospital stays in children under twelve years of age. Beckman has developed a test that improves researchers' ability to measure a portion of the immune system's reaction to this infection.

By giving our undergraduates the opportunity not simply to learn new things, but to discover them, the University lifts their intellectual and imaginative horizons, while teaching the fundamental skills they need to build their careers.

Dr. Braciale and student

Dr. Braciale and student Natalie Beckman

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