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In creating an academical village, Jefferson sought scholars who had distinguished reputations and were willing to live among their students -- an unusual, but from Jefferson's point of view, essential combination. The University of Virginia faculty, one of the most distinguished groups of scholars and researchers in the country, still exemplifies this tradition.
The University's full-time faculty numbers almost 2,000, most of whom conduct research and publish their findings on a regular basis. The University has established more than 383 endowed professorships for outstanding scholars, and the Shannon Center for Advanced Studies plays a major role in attracting and retaining scholars of national and international distinction.
In 1995, the prestigious National Research Council, which evaluates 274 institutions every ten years, placed our graduate programs in English, religious studies, German, Spanish and Portuguese, and physiology among the top ten programs in their fields, ratings based in large part on the quality of the faculty.
In its September 1996 issue, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Virginia as the nation's top public institution for the third consecutive year, placing it 21st among 229 public and private colleges and universities. The graduate issue of U.S. News further ranked the School of Law as the second public law school in the country, ranking eighth overall. The magazine placed the Darden Graduate School of Business eleventh overall and ranked its non-degree Executive Education program sixth in the country. The Master's of Architecture program was ranked tenth.
The University continues to recruit faculty of the highest caliber. This year, NASA astronaut and University alumna, Kathryn Thornton accepted a professorship in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. She has been named director of the Center for Science Education, an interdisciplinary project created to promote greater interest in the sciences among elementary and secondary school students. Dr. Leland Chung, generally regarded as one of the best cancer scientists in the world, moved his laboratory to the University of Virginia from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dr. Chung is reported to be one or two years away from testing a prostate cancer vaccine on humans.
University faculty members overall have received many national and international awards. This year two faculty members joined nineteen other members of the University of Virginia faculty as members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences: J. David Summers, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of History of Art; and Robert L. Wilken, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of the History of Christianity. Rita Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English, and Patricia Meyer Spacks, the E.F. Shannon Professor of English, were elected to the American Philosophical society, our nations's oldest learned society. Rita Dove was also honored by President Bill Clinton, with her receipt of the 1996 Charles Frankel Prize for leadership in the humanities. Karen V.H. Parshall, an associate professor of history and mathematics, and David Vander Meulen, an associate professor of English, were among the 158 artists, scholars, and scientists nationwide to receive the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial scholarships, awarded to promising scholars whose research has led to significant advances in their field. James F. Childress, the Edwin B. Kyle Professor of Religious Studies and professor of medical education, was recently appointed by President Bill Clinton to a national advisory panel on biomedical ethics. Pamela S. Karlan, the Roy L. & Rosamond Woodruff Morgan Research Professor of Law, received one of the Outstanding Faculty Awards from the state of Virginia, the commonwealth's highest honor for college and university faculty, joining seven other University of Virginia faculty honored in previous years. A biologist and a physicist from the University were among six individuals to receive the state's highest science awards this year, presented by the Science Museum of Virginia and the Commonwealth. Oscar L. Miller, Jr., the Lewis and Clark Professor of Biology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, received the Life Achievement Award and Thomas F. Gallagher, the Jesse W. Beams Professor of Physics, was named a 1997 Virginia Outstanding Scientist.
Despite the demands of research and writing, University faculty are remarkably attentive to the needs of their students. In addition to their teaching responsibilities, faculty members serve as academic advisors. Professors routinely post office hours, and University of Virginia students do not hesitate to use them. It's not unusual to encounter students clustered in the hall outside a professor's office, waiting for a chance to discuss papers or review classwork.
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