University Recognizes Seven Great Teachers with Lenfest Distinguished Columbia Faculty Awards
Seven scholar-teachers have been selected as recipients of this year's Distinguished Columbia Faculty Awards. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences gives this honor annually to junior and senior faculty members who have shown exceptional merit in scholarship and dedication to teaching. The awards, established in 2005 by University Trustee Gerry Lenfest (Law '58), each come with a stipend of $25,000 per year for three consecutive years.
"The 2008-09 Distinguished Faculty honorees are inspirational, as teachers as well as scholars," said Nicholas Dirks, vice president for arts and sciences and dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. "Spanning the disciplines—from Etruscan art to the biological bases for communication to the study of representative democracy—their work reflects the knowledge and passion they bring to the classroom."
This year's Distinguished Faculty honorees include:
|Francesco de Angelis|
Francesco de Angelis, associate professor in the department of art history and archaeology, is vice director of the Center for the Ancient Mediterranean and associate director of the Center for Archaeology. His forthcoming book on Etruscan art and Greek mythology will be published with the Accademia dei Lincei in Rome. His teaching is broad, covering ancient Greek art as well as ancient Roman art, his specialty.
History professor Christopher Brown is expanding our understanding of abolitionism, slavery, the British Empire and the Atlantic world. His major scholarly contributions include the prizewinning Moral Capital: Foundations of British Abolitionism. In addition to undergraduate and graduate courses on slavery and on the British Empire, he has also taught "Contemporary Civilization."
English and comparative literature professor Brent Edwards has also taught courses through the Center for Jazz Studies. A true comparativist in his teaching and scholarship alike, he draws on writers from the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and America. His first book, The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism, won prizes for its contributions to both American and French studies.
Biologist Darcy Kelley's research focuses on how one brain communicates with another through the study of sex-specific vocal behaviors of African clawed frogs. Kelley founded the interdisciplinary undergraduate major in neuroscience and behavior, played a key role in the creation of the undergraduate core course "Frontiers of Science" and founded Columbia's doctoral program in neurobiology and behavior.
Philip Kitcher, the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy, has made scholarly contributions in an array of fields, including the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of science, ethics and politics, pragmatism, music and literature, and the philosophy of history. His books include Vaulting Ambition: Sociobiology and the Quest for Human Nature, which received the Imre Lakatos Award, and In Mendel's Mirror: Philosophical Reflections on Biology, which received the Lionel Trilling Book Award, given by Columbia College students, in 2004.
A pioneer in the interdisciplinary field of social cognitive neuroscience, psychologist Kevin Ochsner researches the regulation of emotion and the ability to identify what others are feeling. Ochsner has developed a new method for studying empathy and has discovered why years of behavioral research have failed to identify individuals with an "empathic trait." An assistant professor, Ochsner has been teaching the core introductory laboratory course in experimental psychology, and is now co-director of the honors program.
Political scientist Nadia Urbinati is internationally recognized for her contributions to the study of democracy. In her recent book, Representative Democracy: Principles and Genealogy, she demonstrates that political representation has intrinsic democratic features and functions, rather than simply being a compromise between the realities of the modern state and the unlikely prospect of direct democratic rule. She is currently the Nell and Herbert M. Singer Professor of Contemporary Civilization in the Core Curriculum and teaches central courses in political philosophy in her department.
Four Columbia faculty were awarded Sloan Research Fellowships by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. They are Mark Churchland, assistant professor of neuroscience; Wei Min, assistant professor of chemistry; Simha Sethumadhavan, associate professor of computer science; and Wei Zhang, assistant professor of mathematics.
Alondra Nelson, associate professor of sociology, won the 2012 book award from the Association for Humanist Sociology for Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination.