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Faculty Notes

Aimee Bender, associate professor of English, won the 2010 SoCal Independent Booksellers Association Award in Fiction for her latest novel, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (Random House, 2010).

Yehuda Ben-Zion, professor of earth sciences, has been awarded the Humboldt Research Award (Humboldt-Forschungspreis) from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Ben-Zion was also ranked 5th in total citations by Thomson Reuters’ Science Watch list of the Top 20 Authors in Earthquake Studies.

Peter Berton, professor emeritus of international relations, was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon by the Government of Japan.

John Bowlt, professor of Slavic languages and literatures and director of the Institute of Modern Russian Culture, was awarded the prestigious Russian Federation Order of Friendship.

Richard Brutchey, assistant professor of chemistry, has received a 2010 Cottrell Scholars Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement.

Antonio Damasio, University Professor, David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience, and director of the USC Brain and Creativity Institute, had his latest book, Self Comes to Mind (Pantheon, 2010), selected by the Financial Times as one its “Books of the Year” for 2010.

Percival Everett, Distinguished Professor of English, won a 2010 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in fiction for his novel, I Am Not Sidney Poitier (Graywolf Press, 2009). Everett has also been inducted into the South Carolina Literary Hall of Fame.

Susan Forsburg, professor of biological sciences, has received the 2011 Roche Diagnostics Alice C. Evans Award from the American Society of Microbiology. She also serves as a section editor for G3:  Genes|Genomes|Genetics, a new journal from the Genetics Society of America.

Margaret Gatz, chair and professor of psychology, and professor of gerontology and preventive medicine, has been appointed an honorary doctor of medicine at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. Gatz has been a foreign adjunct professor at Karolinska Institutet since 2000.­

Ruth Wilson Gilmore, associate professor of American studies and ethnicity, has been appointed to the editorial boards of Theoretical Criminology and Women’s Studies Quarterly.

Jim Haw, Ray R. Irani Chairman of Occidental Petroleum Chair in Chemistry and professor of chemistry and environmental studies and the director of environmental studies, was tapped for his environmental expertise, and is featured in videos, along with ABC Castle television actors Stana Katic and Seamus Dever, for the Sierra Club’s The Alternative Travel Project.

Fr. James Heft, Alton M. Brooks Professor of Religion as well as president and founding director of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies, received the Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence from the Catholic Colleges and Universities.

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, assistant professor of education and psychology, was named a “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science for her early career contributions.

Jane Junn, professor of political science, gave the Pi Sigma Alpha Keynote Address at the 2011 American Political Science Association Teaching and Learning Conference.

Robin D.G. Kelley, professor of American studies and ethnicity, and history, has received the following awards for his book, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original (Free Press, 2009): the American Musicological Society’s Music in American Culture Award and a 2010 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in nonfiction.

Karen Kemp of the Spatial Sciences Institute was appointed a fellow of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science.

Steven Lamy, vice dean for academic programs and professor of international relations, has received the Donald Perryman Fund for the Social Studies Scholar Award, which honors a university scholar who has made a significant contribution to the quality of K-12 social studies in Southern California.

Karen Lang, associate professor of art history, has been granted the Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorship at the University of Warwick, England.

Sonya Lee, associate professor of art history, and East Asian languages and cultures, has been awarded a senior fellowship at the National Gallery of Art’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in Washington, D.C., membership at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and an American Council of Learned Societies ACLS Fellowship.

Paul Lerner, associate professor of history, was recently awarded a Humboldt Fellowship to perform research at the Simon Dubnow Institute for Modern Jewish History at the University of Leipzig. He has also been awarded an American Council of Learned Societies ACLS Fellowship.

Daniel Lidar, associate professor of chemistry and electrical engineering systems, has been elected as an officer of the American Physical Society’s Topical Group on Quantum Information.

Steven Lopez, professor of psychology, has received the Society of Clinical Psychology’s Stanley Sue Award for Distinguished Contributions to Diversity in Clinical Psychology. 

Nancy Lutkehaus, chair and professor of anthropology, and professor of gender studies and political science, has been awarded a 2011–12 Harry Ransom Center Fellowship at the University of Texas, Austin for her project “A Transnational Friendship: Miguel Covarrubias and Rene d’Harnoncourt (1930–1957).”

Susan McCabe, professor of English, has been awarded a residency fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin.

Susan Montgomery, professor of mathematics, was invited to give the 32nd Annual Association for Women in Mathematics Emmy Noether Lecture at the joint mathematics meetings in New Orleans.

Viet Thanh Nguyen, associate professor of English, and American studies and ethnicity, has received an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship for 2011–12.

Margaret Rosenthal, professor of Italian, comparative literature, and English, had her book, The Honest Courtesan: Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer in 16th-Century Venice (University of Chicago Press, 1993), adapted into the musical, Dangerous Beauty. The production opened at the Pasadena Playhouse in February.

Mark Schroeder, associate professor of philosophy, won the American Philosophical Association’s 2010 Article Prize for his article, “How Expressivists Can and Should Solve their Problem about Negation.”­

Mark Thompson, professor of chemistry, materials science and environmental studies, was ranked 12th in Thomson Reuters’ Science Watch list of the Top 100 Chemists, 2000–2010, which celebrates the achievements of chemists who achieved the highest citation impact scores for chemistry papers published since January 2000.

Travis Williams, assistant professor of chemistry, has received an Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation.

Cecilia Woloch of English has received a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship.

The September 2010 issue of the Annals of Mathematics included three papers by Department of Mathematics faculty: two by Professor of Mathematics Robert Michael Guralnick and one by Professor of Mathematics Thomas Geisser.

Dan Bayer, executive director of the USC Dornsife Language Center, and Tatiana Akishina, professor (teaching) of Russian and director of the Russian language program, presented a paper at the XII Congress of the International Association of Teachers of
Russian Language and Literature held in Shanghai. 


Institute, Center and Program News

The Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies was invited by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace to debate Pope Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical, Caritas in veritate (Charity in Truth), and how it applies to the United States. Fr. James Heft, Alton M. Brooks Professor of Religion as well as president and founding director of the institute, chaired each of the six sessions of the international symposium held in October at the Vatican.

USC was selected for the 2010 Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for an institutional focus on community engagement through programs such as the Joint Educational Project (JEP), which is housed in USC Dornsife.

USC Dornsife and the Farhang Foundation announced in November the launch of an Iranian Studies Initiative at USC. For the first time ever, USC Dornsife will offer students Persian language classes beginning as early as Fall 2011. The initiative’s second phase, still in planning stages, will allow students to choose a minor with a focus on Iranian studies.


Top Honors

Mullins Named 2010 U.S. Artists Fellow in Literature

Playwright and poet Brighde Mullins, who directs the Master of Professional Writing Program, was named a 2010 United States Artists Fellow in literature at a December event held at Lincoln Center in New York City. The fellowship, which comes with a $50,000 unrestricted grant, was presented by United States Artists, a national grant-making and advocacy organization with a mission to invest in America’s finest artists.


Caron, Edwards and Nordborg Elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Three USC Dornsife professors have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition of distinguished accomplishments in advancing science and serving society. David Caron, professor of biological sciences, is honored for his work in marine microbial ecology, “particularly regarding phagotrophic and autotrophic protists and harmful algae blooms.” Katrina Edwards, professor of biological sciences and earth sciences, and director of the National Science Foundation-supported Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI) headquartered in USC Dornsife, is recognized for “important discoveries on interactions between microbes and minerals, especially at the ocean floor, how these influence global biogeochemical processes and for international leadership.” Magnus Nordborg, associate professor of biological sciences, whose research lab focuses on the genetic basis of adaptation, is honored for “distinguished contributions to the field of population genetics, particularly for pioneering genome-wide association studies in non-human organisms.”


Starr Inducted into California Hall of Fame

Kevin Starr, University Professor and professor of history, was inducted into the California Hall of Fame during a December ceremony in Sacramento, Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and first lady Maria Shriver presented the Spirit of California medals to 14 trailblazers, who also included screen and music icon Barbra Streisand; comedienne Betty White; filmmaker James Cameron; businessman and philanthropist Levi Strauss; tennis champion Serena Williams; and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.


Sanchez Receives the American Historical Association’s First Equity Award

George Sanchez, vice dean for diversity and strategic initiatives, and professor of American studies and ethnicity, and history, has received the first Equity Award from the American Historical Association in recognition of excellence in recruiting and retaining under-represented racial and ethnic groups into the historic profession.


Faculty Appointments

Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel McFadden has been appointed the Presidential Professor of Health Economics. McFadden is best known for his innovations in economics and mathematics related to models of learning and choice. He was awarded the 2000 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, together with James Heckman, for their development of theories and methods for analyzing discrete choice. McFadden will hold joint appointments at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development and the Department of Economics in USC Dornsife.

Dana Gioia, an acclaimed poet and essayist who served two terms as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, has been appointed the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture. Gioia’s university-wide appointment includes affiliations with USC Dornsife, USC Thornton School of Music, USC Marshall School of Business, and USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development.

Kevin Murray, a retired senator and legal expert in public policy and entertainment, has been appointed USC Dornsife Politician-in-Residence. Murray represented the 47th district when elected to the California Legislature in 1994. After serving two terms, he was elected to the state Senate representing the 26th district before retiring due to term limits in 2006. Throughout his career, Murray has been a champion in the areas of solar energy, consumer privacy, urban parks, economic development, civil rights, the Internet, healthcare access, transportation issues, artists’ rights and the entertainment industry.


Read more articles from USC Dornsife Magazine's Spring/Summer 2011 issue