University President William P. Leahy, SJ, with Distinguished Teaching and Research award winners (L-R) Sister Callista Roy, Michael Moore, Stephen Pfohl, Anne Bernard Kearney ó accepting on behalf of her husband, Richard Kearney ó and Zhifeng Ren. Not pictured: Tayfun Sonmez. (Photo by Suzanne Camarata)
University Presents 2006 Faculty Awards
By Reid Oslin
A look at the winners of this year's Distinguished Teaching and Research Awards, presented at the annual Faculty Day event on May 8 [see separate story]:
Assoc. Prof. Michael Moore (Psychology): Moore, a specialist in child and young adult development, has won praise for the significant amounts of time he devotes to student advising and departmental administration duties in addition to his teaching and research commitments.
"Michael's lectures are a work of art," wrote one faculty colleague in nominating Moore. "He conveys his own enthusiasm about the issues to his students, treating each of them as a curious, intelligent social scientist.
"Michael's dedication to and passion for teaching and undergraduate education is unequalled. He is truly one of our best and most dedicated teachers."
Prof. Stephen Pfohl (Sociology): Pfohl teaches a wide array of courses, including social theory, deviance and social control, women's studies, cultural studies, postmodernism, psychoanalysis, criminology and the sociology of art. He has also had an extensive range of experiences outside the University, including as a founding member of Sit-Com International, a Boston-based collective of artists, social theorists and activists.
A group of students and fellow faculty members heartily endorsed his candidacy for the award: "He is a brilliant scholar, a tireless mentor and a vital contributor to students' intellectual development and subsequent career and life paths," they wrote. "One of the reasons Stephen is such a successful teacher is that he remains a student. This is something all of us in this business know is important."
Prof. Sister Callista Roy, CSJ (CSON): Sister Roy was recruited to the Boston College faculty in 1987 with a goal of designing and implementing a doctoral program in nursing. She has far surpassed that goal, according to several of her fellow faculty members and former students.
"She has an international reputation as a scholar, teacher and nurse theorist," said one faculty colleague. "Her scholarly work focuses on a broad approach to knowledge for nursing practice and in particular, the development of a theoretical framework for nursing practice, research and education known as the Roy Adaptation Model."
"Dr. Roy is a master educator," offered one of her former students. "She understands what education means and translates such understanding into fostering three fundamental feelings for all involved: a sense of agency, a sense of responsibility and accountability, and a sense of connection."
"I have never met anyone so dedicated to the profession of nursing, her students and nursing's future," wrote another former student. "I am so grateful to have had her as a leader, mentor and friend."
Prof. Zhifeng Ren (Physics): Since joining the Boston College physics faculty in 1999, Ren has worked to establish a first-class laboratory that includes a variety of synthesis equipment for study of carbon nanotubes and related properties, say colleagues.
"He is a scientist of international distinction active in one of the hottest fields of science: new materials for nanotechnology," wrote one colleague. "In a relatively short time, he has made his mark in two very different areas of materials synthesis: superconductor thin films and nanotubes."
"He is clearly an incredibly gifted experimental physicist with a tremendous variety of laboratory and analytical skills," an internationally-known physicist wrote on Ren's behalf.
Seelig Professor of Philosophy Richard Kearney: Kearney is the author of more than 20 books on European philosophy and literature, including two novels and a volume of poetry, and has edited or co-edited 14 more.
A former member of the Arts Council of Ireland, the Higher Education Authority of Ireland and chairman of the Irish School of Film at University College, Dublin, Kearney has produced five series on culture and philosophy for Irish and British television and drafted a number of proposals for the Northern Ireland peace agreements.
"Leaving aside his novels, his poetry, his work in film and his role as a public intellectual, especially in Ireland," wrote one colleague, "Richard Kearney has an extraordinarily impressive body of scholarly achievement."
JUNIOR RESEARCH AWARD
Prof. Tayfun Sonmez (Economics): In his first year at Boston College. Sonmez has drawn national acclaim for his work in microeconomic theory and mechanism design.
"Almost everything he writes repays careful reading," offers one nationally-known economist.
Foremost among Sonmez' recent works are papers on the problem of matching and assignment, applied to such areas as kidney transplant matching and the public school choice mechanism.
"Sonmez is a theorist who proves powerful theorems," adds another renowned economist, "and a market designer who uses these to address difficult, important practical problems."