In this issue we feature award-winning science faculty members, building on past issues where we’ve featured award winners from the humanities and social sciences. Besides bragging rights, why do these faculty awards matter?
The strength of our faculty defines us as the state’s flagship research university and sets us apart from other colleges and universities in Oregon. As the UO’s interim president Bob Berdahl emphasized last year before retiring as head of the Association of American Universities (AAU), basic research drives discovery and economic growth, and it is American research universities that led the world in this endeavor in the twentieth century and on into the twenty-first. Comprehensive flagship public research universities like the University of Oregon, along with private universities with deep pockets, are the ones that can train the next generation of innovators through their unique combination of research and education.
To be a member of the AAU, and therefore recognized as a research leader, universities are evaluated on the strength of their faculty, whose members are measured by their research productivity and recognition of their scholarship, including the awards they receive. In just the past year, faculty members of the College of Arts and Sciences have been recognized with numerous awards that help maintain our AAU status.
In 2011 alone, UO psychologist Michael Posner received the Carty Award for the Advancement of Science from the National Academy of Sciences, chemist Geri Richmond was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences
, biologist Eric Selker was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and chemist Mike Haley and biologist Craig Young were both named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Other 2011 awards included fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Fulbright Program and the Pew Charitable Trust. These are some of the most prestigious awards given to scholars and scientists, and these recognitions speak volumes about the excellence of the University of Oregon. In the past year, our faculty members received many additional national and regional research awards—for example, see a list of recent science award winners on page 23.
Our cumulative track record is also impressive, with a remarkable sixty Guggenheim Fellows and thirty-three Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science among College of Arts and Sciences faculty members.
It’s imperative that we hire and retain faculty members capable of winning such awards in the future if we expect to attract and educate the most talented young people and to ensure a prosperous future for Oregon. To succeed, we must make certain that the University of Oregon has the resources, the regulatory framework and the freedom necessary to fulfill its mission—all reasons that UO leadership is committed to advancing legislation that will establish an independent governing board for the University of Oregon (see Online Extras, page 28, for links to legislative updates). This is the one clear pathway to remaining a top research university.
Thanks for your support in helping ensure our future success!