Paying Tribute to Talented Teachers

USC College honors faculty and graduate students for excellence in teaching, research
ByWayne Lewis

In this year’s entry of an annual tradition, USC College recognized the excellence of faculty and graduate students at its holiday party, held Dec. 5 at Davidson Conference Center.

“We take very seriously the conjunction of teaching and research,” said USC College Dean Peter Starr. “There are very few stellar teachers who aren’t also very, very fine researchers. Today, we pay tribute to some of our most accomplished scholars and teachers with these awards.”

Wayne Raskind, College dean of faculty, announced the winners of the 2006 Raubenheimer Awards, recognizing exemplary teaching, research and service by College faculty.

Raubenheimer Award winners were Jed Fuhrman, McCulloch-Crosby Chair in Marine Biology and professor of biological sciences and mathematics; Michael Messner, professor and chair of sociology; and Bruce Zuckerman, professor of religion and linguistics, and the Myron and Marian Casden Director of the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life. Each received $3,000 with the honor.

John “Jeb” Barnes, assistant professor and director of graduate studies in political science, received the Raubenheimer Award for outstanding junior faculty, along with a $1,500 prize. Barnes also picked up one of the College’s General Education Teaching Awards at the ceremony.

USC College’s highest award, the Raubenheimer is named in honor of Albert S. Raubenheimer, a university administrator at USC from 1937 to 1960 who served for a time as dean of liberal arts.

Jed Fuhrman, who did his baccalaureate work at MIT and received his doctorate from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD, has studied and taught marine ecology for over 25 years. He joined the College faculty in 1988 after a stint at SUNY-Stony Brook. His research focuses on microorganisms in marine ecosystems and the cycling of ocean matter.

Fuhrman’s team has helped tie human illness to pathogens in coastal waters, and seeks to make the measurement of disease-causing microbes at recreational beaches easier and less expensive. He is currently applying techniques of molecular biology to the exploration of global marine microbial biodiversity, resulting in the identification of new species.

From 1994 to 1996, Fuhrman served as chair of the College’s biological sciences department. As an instructor, he’s known for using his sense of humor to enliven difficult material. Earlier this year, Fuhrman was awarded the Hutchinson Medal by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography. He is a Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology.

A leading expert on sports and gender, Michael Messner received his Ph.D. in sociology from UC Berkeley after completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at CSU Chico. He left CSU Hayward to join the College faculty in 1987. His current work investigates masculinity and politics in the media through examination of press portrayals of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Messner also studies sex segregation among volunteer youth sport coaches.

Messner was recognized with the 2006 USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2004 USC College General Education Award. His classes in the College’s general education program have earned him plaudits for engrossing lectures augmented by storytelling and humor.

Two of his books, Taking the Field (University of Minnesota Press, 2002) and Power at Play (Beacon Press, 1992), have garnered the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport’s Outstanding Book Award. The forthcoming Out of Play: Critical Essays on Gender & Sport will be published by SUNY Press in 2007.

An alumnus of Princeton and Yale, Bruce Zuckerman directs the West Semitic Research Project, which documents text and images of the ancient world using advanced photographic and computer imaging, and the USC Archaeological Research Collection, home to thousands of ancient artifacts available for hands-on study by students.

He is also co-director of the InscriptiFact Project, an online database of high-resolution images of ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean inscriptions that researchers can access from around the globe. InscriptiFact scholars are currently scanning and studying the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Zuckerman is a Fellow of the USC Center for Excellence in Teaching, and is renowned for his efforts to integrate multimedia technology with classroom instruction.

Jeb Barnes, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, practiced commercial litigation before earning his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and entering academe. He specializes in public law and American politics, particularly inter-branch relations.

Barnes received the 2003 Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Research Fellowship. In 2002, his dissertation, Overruled? Congressional Overrides, Judicial Behavior and Court Congress Relations, 1974 to Present (Stanford University Press, 2004) was awarded special recognition by the Law and Society Association Dissertation Prize Committee. Students describe him as a dedicated, enthusiastic instructor who opens their eyes to the importance of judicial and political processes.

Prizes for excellence in undergraduate education were awarded by Hilary Schor, College dean of undergraduate programs. Jennifer Wolch, dean of graduate programs, named the winners of the doctoral dissertation honors.

Other College awards presented at the holiday reception:

General Education Teaching Awards
John “Jeb” Barnes, Political Science
Bryan Burns, Classics
Sarah Gualtieri, History and American Studies and Ethnicity
Vitaly Kresin, Physics and Astronomy
Denis Mitchell, Psychology
Lori Meeks, Religion and East Asian Languages and Cultures
Walter Williams, Gender Studies and Anthropology

General Education Graduate Assistant Awards
Jennifer Conary, English and USC College Writing Program
Marc De Jong, Sociology
Andrew Fogleman, History
Christina Law, Occupational Therapy and Kinesiology
Lorraine Leon, Earth Sciences
Robert Shanklin, Philosophy
Erika Wright, English and Thematic Option

Advanced Writing Teaching Award
Anne Shea, USC College Writing Program

USC College Doctoral Research Prizes
Millay Hyatt, Comparative Literature
Kaiji Chen, Economics
Katharina Schlacher, Biological Sciences