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Bringing Out the Best

USC College celebrates excellence during its annual holiday reception and awards ceremony. Dean Howard Gillman introduces a new award recognizing outstanding staff achievement.

Bringing Out the Best

During an annual holiday celebration, USC College presented its highest faculty honor — the Albert S. Raubenheimer Award — to four professors and saluted other top achievers of 2007.

The Dec. 4 ceremony at the Davidson Conference Center drew a record crowd of more than 200.

“It’s wonderful for us to come together as a community, to enjoy each other’s company and to honor the amazing work done by our terrific staff, our fantastic graduate student teachers and researchers, and our dedicated and inspirational general education faculty,” said Howard Gillman, dean of the College and holder of the Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair.

“With the Raubenheimer awards we are especially pleased to single out those faculty who have proven themselves exemplary citizens of our community by making important contributions in research, teaching and service.”

A tradition that began in 1980, the top award was named after Albert Raubenheimer, who served at USC as professor, administrator and alumni affairs adviser for 57 years. For a time, he was dean of liberal arts, renamed during his tenure to letters, arts and sciences. Raubenheimer retired in 1960 and remained involved with USC until his death in 1980.

Edwin McCann, vice dean responsible for faculty affairs in the College, announced the 2007 Raubenheimer Award winners. The award committee had an extremely difficult job, he said.

“When we look at the nominees and their [contributions],” McCann said, “your breath is taken away by how great the faculty here is.”

For humanities, the Raubenheimer Award winner was Sarah Pratt, professor of Slavic languages and literatures. An author of three books, Pratt primarily studies poetry and cultural relations, and has an international reputation as an authority on Russian prose.

"The honor makes me feel humble. I got to know colleagues across the College when I served on the College Faculty Council and served as dean of academic programs. There are so many folks putting huge amounts of energy and imagination — real fire — into their work, and making this a profoundly interesting and lively place to live an academic life.

I thrive on being a faculty member among colleagues like that (especially my Slavic colleagues, who seem to be hardwired for explosive energy), and among students, both graduate and undergraduate in all kinds of fields, who aren’t far behind.”
— Sarah Pratt

 

For social sciences, the winner was Beth Meyerowitz, professor of psychology and preventive medicine. Meyerowitz studies the psychosocial issues facing people with chronic illness. For more than 30 years, she has investigated the distress, disruption and coping factors associated with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

"Being a faculty member in USC College has been a wonderful way to spend the past 18 years. I've been supported in my pursuit of a wide range of scholarly and teaching interests, even when some of those interests did not promise immediate pay off. And it’s never been dull.

The members of the faculty in the College are among the most accomplished and forward-looking academics in the world, many of whom deserve to be awarded. I am grateful to be part of this community of scholars and honored to receive the Raubenheimer Award.”
— Beth Meyerowitz

 

For natural sciences and mathematics, the honor went to Myron Goodman, professor of biological sciences and chemistry. A College faculty member since 1973, Goodman has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of the molecular basis of genetic changes through his research. Among his crucial discoveries, his research has shown that while most DNA mutations are bad for cells, at times they provide genetic advantages.

"The current intellectual atmosphere at USC College provides a critical mass of faculty and administrative colleagues, support staff, and most importantly a population of undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students that inspires creativity and achievement in research and teaching. USC has become a magnet for attracting superb new faculty, an uncommon magnet where likes attract.

The 2007 Raubenheimer Award is symbolic of who we are in biological sciences and chemistry, and I am delighted to receive this award on behalf of all my old colleagues, but especially my younger colleagues, most of whom I had the pleasure and honor to recruit. And, here, a Raubenheimer co-recipient Beth Meyerowitz, as past dean [of faculty], deserves a lioness’ share of the recruitment credit. My next goal is to become the lowest uncommon denominator in molecular and computational biology, and thanks to the growing stature of USC, that goal is at hand.”
— Myron Goodman

 

In the junior faculty category, the Raubenheimer Award went to Jane Iwamura, assistant professor of religion and of American studies and ethnicity. Iwamura’s research focuses on Asian-American religions, race and popular culture in the United States, with an emphasis on visual culture.

Being an assistant professor in the College and at USC has been an incredible experience. I especially have come to value the College’s commitment in three areas: diversity, technology and family. USC’s vision to create a university population that is truly diverse in background, outlook and practice; to take the best of what technology has to offer for our research and teaching; and to support working families are commitments that I share. Such aspirations distinguish USC from other educational institutions across the nation.

It is a real honor to be given the Raubenheimer Award, especially given the caliber and accomplishments of my junior colleagues in the College. They are and continue to be a source of amazing inspiration and support.”
— Jane Iwamura

Additional honors presented at the ceremony:

Outstanding Staff Achievement
Tammara Anderson, executive director of the College’s Joint Educational Project
Michele Dea, administrative services manager of the Department of Chemistry
John Parker, chief technology officer at USC College

General Education Graduate Assistant Awards
Tameem Albash, Physics and Astronomy
Max Berkelhammer, Earth Sciences
Michael Block, History
Zeina Ghazzaoui, Comparative Literature
Unnati Jariwala, Biological Sciences
Viet Le, American Studies and Ethnicity
Eric Rawson, English
Jonathan Weil, Philosophy

General Education Teaching Awards
Werner Däppen, Physics and Astronomy
(Däppen’s award included a special citation for “Distinguished Service to the General Education Program.”)
William Deverell, History
Lanita Jacobs-Huey, Anthropology
Thomas Seifrid, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Advanced Writing Teaching Awards
William Feuer, College Writing Program
Danielle Hinrichs, College Writing Program

USC College Doctoral Research Prizes
Thomas Denson, Psychology
Kurt Frankel, Earth Sciences
Analisa Zox-Weaver, English

Honorable Mentions
Jason Byrne, Geography
Emily Rosario, Neuroscience
Ahmet Suner, Comparative Literature